Networking

Android UI changes look with femtocell app

A new application for phones based on the Android platform automatically adjusts the device's user interface when it's in range of a femtocell, a small base station that can improve wireless coverage and bandwidth.

Mobile app developer Intrinsyc Software and femtocell maker Ubiquisys have teamed up to develop UX-Zone, they said today. The home version of the user interface could include icons for high bandwidth entertainment services like video streaming and home network integration. When the user gets to the office, a new range of enterprise application icons would appear, according to a statement from the two companies.

When a user is making calls and surfing the Web with a phone or laptop equipped with wireless broadband, signals are sent via the femtocell and a fixed broadband connection. Femtocells also allow carriers to offload users from the regular mobile network, and save money on backhaul capacity.

But UX-Zone shows that femtocells can be about more than just that, according to Keith Day, vice president of marketing at Ubiquisys. The company has tried to make it as easy as possible for third parties to develop applications that take advantage of the fact that the femtocell knows when users are present, he said.

Currently, UX-Zone is only available as a demonstration. But Ubiquisys is in discussions with operators that are interesting in launching it. They would then get a tailored version of the application, according to Day.

To encourage the development of third-party applications Ubiquisys has started the FemtoApps Initiative, which is currently in beta.

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