Handset makers may need to get smarter and more personal.

Juniper Research issued a report that sees rising demand for complex, multimedia-rich software applications, requiring handset manufacturers to design increasingly smarter and highly personalized mobile devices. Remember when PDAs (personal digital assistants) were digital items to swoon over?

Now smartphones are the hot items. And Jupiter believes that next-generation smartphone devices will account for as much as 23% of all new handsets sold by the year 2013.

Search Wars

Here's some Yahoo! ( YHOO) search-engine news that doesn't refer to a possible deal with Microsoft ( MSFT). Bloomberg is reporting that Yahoo! could replace Google ( GOOG) as the default search engine for Vodafone's ( VOD) "Live!" service. Vodafone chose Google as its default search engine partner in early 2006. No word on whether such a deal would extend to Verizon ( VZ) here in the U.S. Vodafone owns a big piece of Verizon Wireless.

And, if you're up on your wireless alphabet, here's a new one to add to your database. The VoLGA (Voice over LTE via Generic Access) Forum officially launched today. What is VoLGA you ask? It's a joint effort dedicated to bringing voice and SMS services to future 4G LTE networks.

As I told you last week, T-Mobile ( DT) is part of this LTE initiative, along with Verizon, Alcatel-Lucent ( ALA), Ericsson ( ERIC), Huawei, LG, Motorola ( MOTO), Nortel ( NT), Samsung and ZTE. According to a statement, the Forum will "define a set of specifications for enabling delivery of voice services over LTE access networks."

LTE (Long Term Evolution) is one of the two next-generation, 4G mobile technology already experiencing lots of corporate backing. It is expected to be introduced by Verizon and NTT DoCoMo ( DCM) beginning late this year.

LTE is intended to enable data rates many times faster than the high-speed mobile broadband connectivity already offered by today's HSPA and EV-DO networks. Although its proponents often focus on the improvements to data speed, question marks remain over the best way to provide voice capability. VoLGA Forum participants are currently working to create an initial set of voice specifications by mid-2009.
Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.