Mobile group to lead expansion of 3G beyond phones

The GSM Association will lead a group to embed 3G wireless technology in a range of consumer products.

The GSM Association and several partners, including Vodafone and Huawei Technologies, plan to promote the use of 3G (third-generation) technology in cameras, cars and other devices that could link to mobile phones.

The idea is to create technical standards for devices and popularize the idea of using embedded packets, including chips and other technology required to send data over 3G wireless signals, in a range of products used in health care, transportation, utilities, energy and consumer electronics.

The hope is that with embedded mobile connections, devices can automatically exchange information, images and other data with mobile phones, computers or the Internet, the GSM Association said in a statement.

Cars could send regular performance updates to mechanics or service reminders to users on their mobile phones. Digital cameras could automatically send photos to Web sites, and health monitoring devices could regularly update medical staff of heartbeat, blood pressure and other information sent over 3G airwaves.

The group, which also includes Japan's Softbank, Telecom Italia, Telefonica of Spain, South Korea's KTF and Telstra of Australia, plans initially to work on developing a common application programming interface (API) for consumer goods makers to make their products compatible with 3G mobile networks.

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