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Nokia experiments with location-based white space services in Cambridge, UK (video)

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Nokia experiments with location-based white space services in Cambridge, UK (video)

Following news of the first successful white space trials in Cambridge, UK, Nokia is now touting its research in the area with a demonstration of location-based services for the unlicensed spectrum. Traditionally, proponents of white space usage have positioned this unused portion of the airwaves as a viable, low-cost method of data transmission, but the Nokia folks have now demonstrated its ability to pinpoint one’s location with much greater accuracy than either WiFi or cellular networks. Think of it as a counterpoint to NFC, if you will, but in the following clip, we’re shown how an individual might move throughout a museum, and as they approach various exhibits, one’s smartphone could provide supplemental information for the nearby artifacts. Beyond its use in museums, Nokia also foresees the technology as useful in the retail space, where businesses may provide consumers with promotions as they walk by. Currently, the necessary equipment to make this all possible is much too large to fit within a typical smartphone, but Nokia hypothesizes that the necessary chipsets and industry standards may be in place by 2015. Until then, you can dream of what might be with the following video.

Continue reading Nokia experiments with location-based white space services in Cambridge, UK (video)

Nokia experiments with location-based white space services in Cambridge, UK (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 28 Apr 2012 09:37:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Why Doesn’t the New iPad Allow FaceTime Over LTE? [Ipad]

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

The new iPad is, by all reports, smokin’ hot. What better way to make the most of its new LTE capabilities and amazing Retina display than telling somebody about it over FaceTime? Sorry, you’re out of luck; the iPad still doesn’t allow FaceTime over cellular networks. More »

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Intel announces new processors and partnerships

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Intel on Monday detailed a number new products and partnerships during the company’s Mobile World Congress press event. “We are very pleased to add new, important customers and capabilities to our phone offerings today. We remain focused on delivering exciting new features and outstanding performance to smartphone customers around the world.” said Intel CEO Paul Otellini. UK service provider Orange will launch an Atom-powered smartphone based on the Z2460 reference design. The device will feature a sleek body that will enable “rich entertainment experiences [to] Orange services, including Orange TV, Daily Motion, Deezer, Orange Wednesdays and Orange Gestures.” The handset is scheduled for a late summer launch and will be available in the United Kingdom and France. Read on for more.

Intel has partnered with Lava International to offer smartphones in India. Like Orange’s device, the XOLO X900 is based on Intel’s reference design and will be the first Atom-powered smartphone to reach the Indian market. The device will be available in the second quarter and will support major Indian cellular networks. In an agreement similar to the previously announced partnership with Motorola, Intel also announced a multi-year partnership for smartphones and tablets with ZTE. The Chinese manufacturer’s first Intel-powered device is scheduled to debut in the second half of 2012.

In addition to Intel’s Atom Z2460 “Medfield” processor, the company announced the Atom Z2580 CPU that will feature an advanced multi-mode LTE/3G/2G solution and will double the performance of the Z2640. To address the growing low-end market, Intel revealed plans for the Atom Z2000 processor as well. The company will begin testing both chipsets in the second half of 2012, with consumer products carrying the Z2580 and Z2000 expected to launch in first half of 2013.

Lastly, Intel has entered into a multi-year alliance with Visa to “develop mobile commerce solutions tailored to consumers in developed and developing countries.” Intel’s smartphone reference design has been named the first handset to be certified for Visa payWave mobile payment system.

Intel Expands Smartphone Portfolio: New Customers, Products, Software and Services

Announces Smartphone Device Engagements with Orange*, Lava*, ZTE* and Visa*

Discloses Range of New Smartphone SoCs and Communications Products

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS, Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 27, 2012 – Intel Corporation President and CEO Paul Otellini today detailed a number of announcements and plans aimed at expanding the company’s smartphone product portfolio and customer ecosystem, including strategic new engagements with Orange*, Lava International Ltd.*, ZTE*, and Visa*.

“We are very pleased to add new, important customers and capabilities to our phone offerings today. We remain focused on delivering exciting new features and outstanding performance to smartphone customers around the world.” said Otellini.

Otellini made the announcements during an Intel news conference at Mobile World Congress. He also highlighted the company’s plans to expand its smartphone SoC and communications product roadmaps for the performance and value smartphone market segments.

New Smartphone Customer Engagements
Building on strategic engagements with Motorola Mobility Inc.* and Lenovo*, Intel detailed new device relationships with Orange, Lava International Ltd. and ZTE.

Yves Maitre, Orange senior vice president of Mobile Multimedia and Devices, joined Otellini to discuss a new Orange smartphone based on the Intel® Atom™ processor Z2460 reference design. Housed in a sleek body, the design enables rich entertainment experiences and Orange services, including Orange TV, Daily Motion, Deezer, Orange Wednesdays and Orange Gestures. The Orange smartphone will be available in the United Kingdom and France later this summer.

Intel also announced plans to enter the high-growth market for smartphones in India through an alliance with Lava International Ltd., one of the fastest-growing Indian mobile handset companies.Vishal Sehgal, Lava co-founder and board director, announced the launch of XOLO Smartphone by Lava. The XOLO X900 is based on Intel’s smartphone reference design and will be the first Intel technology-based smartphone in the India market. The device will be available from top retail outlets early in the second quarter of 2012 and will support major Indian cellular networks.

Similar to its previously announced partnership with Motorola Mobility, Intel also announced a multi-year mobile device collaboration across smartphones and tablets with global handset maker ZTE. Mr. He Shiyou, executive vice president and head of the Terminal Division of ZTE, discussed how his company’s alliance with Intel will enable ZTE to move faster and create unique and differentiated products for wireless operators. He also announced that ZTE’s first Intel-powered mobile device is scheduled to debut in the second half of 2012.

Expanding Smartphone SoC and Communications Roadmaps
Building on its ecosystem engagements, Intel announced plans for three new smartphone SoC products that expand the company’s portfolio from the performance-to-value market segments.

Extending the leading performance and energy efficiency of the Intel™ Atom® processor Z2460, formerly codenamed “Medfield,” Intel announced that the platform will now support speeds up to 2GHz.

Intel also announced the Atom™ Z2580 processor that doubles the performance of the Atom processor Z2460, and features an advanced multimode LTE/3G/2G solution. Intel will sample the Z2580 in the second half of the year with customer products scheduled in the first half of 2013.

Addressing the growing handset opportunity in emerging markets where consumers look for more value at lower prices, Intel disclosed plans for the Intel® Atom™ processor Z2000.

The Z2000 is aimed squarely at the value smartphone market segment, which industry sources predict could reach up to 500 million units by 20151.The platform includes a 1.0 GHz Atom CPU offering great graphics and video performance, and the ability to access the Web and play Google Android* games. It also supports the Intel® XMM 6265 3G HSPA+ modem with Dual-SIM 2G/3G, offering flexibility on data/voice calling plans to save on costs. Intel will sample the Z2000 in mid-2012 with customer products scheduled by early 2013.

Building on these 32nm announcements, Otellini discussed how the Atom™ processor will outpace Moore’s Law and announced that Intel will ship 22nm SoCs for carrier certification next year, and is already in development on 14nm SoC technology.

In 2011, Intel shipped in more than 400 million cellular platforms. Building on this market segment position, Intel announced the XMM 7160, an advanced multimode LTE/3G/2G platform with support for 100Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink, and support for HSPA+ 42Mbps. Intel will sample the product in the second quarter with customer designs scheduled to launch by the end of 2012.

Intel also announced that it is sampling the XMM 6360 platform, a new slim modem 3G HSPA+ solution supporting 42Mbps downlink and 11.5Mbps uplink for small form factors.

Building Better Experiences on Intel Architecture
Intel’s strategy is to create and enable engaging, consistent, aware and secure user experiences across a range of mobile devices.

An emerging trend is the use of mobile devices to enable secure online and retail commerce. Otellini welcomed John Partridge, President, Visa Inc., who announced a strategic multi-year alliance to develop mobile commerce solutions tailored to consumers in developed and developing countries.

The effort includes collaboration across a range of Visa mobile services and Intel® Atom™-based smartphones and tablets to deliver compelling and secure user services. As a first step, Partridge announced that Intel’s smartphone reference design is now certified for Visa payWave* mobile financial transactions. This means that customer products based on Intel’s smartphone reference design will have time-to-market support of Visa mobile services.

Building on its collaboration with Google, Intel continues to work closely with ISVs to help ensure the majority of Android apps run on Intel Atom processor-based devices. Otellini discussed how Intel has all the right tools and expertise to support the robust mobile application developer ecosystem.

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Kodak files patent infringement lawsuits against HTC and Apple

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Kodak is going through a financial nightmare, with reports claiming the camera company is preparing to file for bankruptcy. In what seems like a last effort to license the company’s patents, Kodak has filed patent lawsuits against HTC and Apple. Kodak claims that both smartphone manufacturers are infringing upon some of the company’s digital imaging patents. The complaint targets the iPad 2, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and the iPod touch (4th generation), claiming Apple’s devices infringe upon four patents. Obviously, the patents all relate to digital images, ranging from capturing them, to transferring photos over email, cellular networks, or wireless LAN networks.

HTC is being sued for the same four patents as Apple, with the addition of  a patent that covers capturing still images while previewing motion images — the same patent is being asserted against Apple and RIM in a concurrent ITC investigation. Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents speculates that the lawsuit is part of a last effort sales and marketing strategy to sell the company’s patent portfolio. Lastly, Mueller believes that even though Apple and HTC are suing each other, they will most likely team up to fight off Kodak. At the very least, the two companies could conduct a joint prior art search, or look to narrow the scope of patent claims to avoid liability for infringement.


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Switched On: A road trip with Siri

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.

When considering the great technology advances of the past few decades, GPS tends to get short shift compared to such culture-rocking innovations as the internet and cellular networks. But it is a marvel nonetheless. Just a few generations ago, the idea of hopping in a car with no clue how to get to a particular destination was foolishness (or at least fodder for gender-stereotyping comedians). Today, with an inexpensive device or smartphone software, we can do so with near certainty of finding our way.

Developers of navigation apps and hardware must place great care in creating an experience that doesn’t unnecessarily distract the driver. For example, quite a few involve “lane assist” features that starkly indicate the options when coming to a fork in the road so that the driver avoids having to stare at the screen too long to figure out the right path. In addition, spoken instructions have long been a defining commodity. While Telenav, for example, offers a free version of its navigation app, it doesn’t include such audio. And Nokia recently followed suit with its distribution strategy around Nokia Drive, leaving the version with spoken turn-by-turn directions exclusive to its Windows Phones.

Continue reading Switched On: A road trip with Siri

Switched On: A road trip with Siri originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 11 Dec 2011 18:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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There are now more wireless subscriber connections in the U.S. than people

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

For the first time, the number of wireless devices connecting to cellular networks in the United States and its territories over the past six months has surpassed the country’s total population. A semi-annual survey conducted by the CTIA found that wireless subscriber connections now total 327.6 million while the population of the U.S. and its territories is now 315.5 million people. This means the wireless penetration rate in the U.S. in now 103.9% according to the CTIA, marking the first time that wireless penetration has surpassed 100% in the U.S. The CTIA also noted that wireless data connections increased 111% compared to its previous semi-annual survey, and wireless service revenue in the U.S. totaled $164.6 billion during the 12-month period ending June 2011, up 6% from the same period in 2010. The association’s full press release follows below.

CTIA-The Wireless Association® Semi-Annual Survey Reveals Historical Wireless Trend

U.S. Wireless Subscriber Connections Surpassed U.S. Population for First Time

Wireless Network Data Traffic Increased 111 percent and Highlights Industry Need for More Spectrum

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — For the first time in history, the semi-annual survey conducted by CTIA-The Wireless Association® shows the number of wireless subscriber connections (327.6 million) has surpassed the population (315.5 million) in the United States and its territories (Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands), which means the wireless penetration rate in the U.S. is 103.9 percent. The survey, released today at CTIA ENTERPRISE & APPLICATIONS™ 2011, tracks U.S. wireless trends including subscribership, usage, revenue and investment from January 2011to June 2011. The survey also showed a 111 percent increase in wireless data traffic. The tremendous increase in data usage, wireless subscriber connections and other metrics from the survey underscore the industry’s need to purchase more spectrum from the federal government to meet the significant demands by consumers and businesses so Americans continue to lead the world with the best wireless products and services.

The January 2011-June 2011 wireless survey results are:

  • Wireless subscriber connections: 327.6 million; mid-year 2010: 300.5 million (9 percent increase).
  • Wireless network data traffic: 341.2 billion megabytes; mid-year 2010: 161.5 billion megabytes (111 percent increase).
  • Average local monthly wireless bill (includes voice and data service): $47.23; mid-year 2010:$47.47 (less than 1 percent decrease).
  • Number of active smartphones and wireless-enabled PDAs: 95.8 million; mid-year 2010: 61.2 million (57 percent increase).
  • Number of active data-capable devices: 278.3 million; mid-year 2010: 264.5 million (5 percent increase).
  • Wireless-enabled tablets, laptops and modems: 15.2 million; mid-year 2010: 12.9 million (17 percent increase).
  • Minutes of Use (MOU): 1.148 trillion; mid-year 2010: 1.138 trillion (1 percent increase).
  • SMS sent and received: 1.138 trillion; mid-year 2010: 982.9 billion (16 percent increase).
  • MMS sent and received: 28.2 billion; mid-year 2010: 32.1 billion.

In order to try to meet the demand for wireless devices and services by consumers and businesses, CTIA’s provider members continued their investments in their networks and infrastructure to improve their customers’ coverage and speeds. From June 2010-June 2011, the annual capital investment increased by 28 percent to $27.5 billion. Since 2001, wireless companies have reported a cumulative total investment of $223 billion. These figures do not include the billions our carrier members paid to the U.S. government for spectrum.

“CTIA’s semi-annual survey proves that Americans love wireless and continue to rely on the most cutting-edge and innovative devices and services in the world. Clearly, we’re using wireless more every day, and the consensus of experts is that demand will continue to skyrocket by more than 50 times within the next five years. These are the reasons why our members need more spectrum,” said Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA. “By making underutilized or unused spectrum available for auction, carriers will continue to invest billions of dollars in their infrastructure, generate hundreds of billions of dollars in benefit to our economy and create up to a half a million new jobs while ensuring the U.S. maintains its position as the world’s wireless leader.”

Wireless annual service revenue was $164.6 billion in the 12 months ending June 2011, up 6 percent from the same period in 2010.

To see a summary of the report or to purchase the full report from the CTIA Research eStore, please visit: http://www.ctia.org/advocacy/research/index.cfm/AID/10316.

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Samsung seeks to block iPhone 4S sales with new patent complaints

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Samsung filed two separate motions for preliminary injunctions in Paris, France and Milan, Italy on Wednesday seeking to block the sale of Apple’s upcoming iPhone 4S in each respective market. The company confirmed the complaints on its corporate blog on Wednesday, just one day following the unveiling of Apple’s next-generation iPhone 4S smartphone. Samsung’s motions allege that Apple’s new smartphone infringes on two Samsung-owned patents related to communications over WCDMA cellular networks. Read on for more.

“Apple has continued to flagrantly violate our intellectual property rights and free ride on our technology,” Samsung said in a blog post. “We believe it is now necessary to take legal action to protect our innovation.”

The move is hardly unexpected. Reports surfaced last month suggesting that Samsung was already planning to target Apple’s then-unannounced next-generation smartphone in a new wave of patent attacks, and Samsung went on record days later stating that it planned to turn up the heat in its ongoing patent disputes with the Cupertino, California-based tech giant.


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When will Verizon’s blistering 4G LTE slow down?

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Let’s face it… not all 4G is created equal. When Verizon Wireless’ LTE launched in its first few markets last year, bloggers and media saw blazing fast data speeds in their tests that put other 4G networks to shame. So did we. In fact, on numerous occasions and in numerous device reviews, we called Verizon’s LTE the fastest cellular data service we had ever tested. But a common sentiment rang throughout the Internet: Verizon’s 4G LTE is fast now, but that’s because the network is empty. And Verizon Wireless’ competition mirrored the opinion, of course. In a private conversation about the discrepancy in performance between Sprint’s 4G WiMAX and Verizon’s 4G LTE, a Sprint executive told me that Verizon’s network was so fast because it was empty. “Wait unit it fills up,” the exec chuckled. “Then we’ll see if the ThunderBolt still deserves its name.” (continued below)

Yes, post-3G cellular networks are important for a variety of reasons; just ask AT&T why it is currently trying to spend $39 billion to acquire T-Mobile USA. I covered some of these reasons in a recent feature. But speed is still of the utmost importance, of course, and Verizon is the undisputed king right now. It also has the youngest 4G network among major U.S. carriers, which include Sprint’s 4G WiMAX network and HSPA+ networks belonging to AT&T and T-Mobile. In my testing in New York City, where I live in Bergen County New Jersey, in San Francisco, in Dallas, and in every other 4G city I’ve visited, Verizon’s LTE network makes the competition look like dial-up.

In the beginning, the congestion argument was a good one for Verizon’s competition to make. Verizon Wireless’ LTE was brand new while other carriers had hundreds of thousands of 4G subscribers. But fast forward to today, and Verizon Wireless 4G is just as fast as ever. I performed about 20 speed tests with a Novatel Wireless 4G MiFi in and around New York City ahead of publishing this piece, and Verizon’s network is just as fast now as it was when it launched in this region. Download speeds ranged from about 6Mbps to over 22Mbps depending on the website I used to test my data speeds, and upload speeds hovered between 2Mbps and 5Mbps. Here are the results from a few of the LTE tests:

So when is the network going to slow down?

We’re half way through 2011 right now and Verizon has been unrelenting in its 4G build-out. The HTC Thunderbolt was a big seller for Verizon, racking up 260,000 activations in the first quarter of 2011, and now Samsung’s DROID Charge is one of the more popular smartphones sold by the carrier. BGR has also confirmed with multiple authorized Verizon Wireless retailers that its 4G mobile hotspots and 4G laptop dongles are among the most popular broadband accessories it sells. Long story short, the network has traffic.

Other U.S. carriers will find a million different ways to argue that their 4G networks are just as good or better than Verizon’s. Maybe Verizon doesn’t have quite as many 4G subscribers… Maybe Sprint’s network performs better in other regions… Maybe AT&T’s 4G network was having a bad day… Maybe I wasn’t sitting in the right spot wearing an aluminum foil hat and facing east when I tested T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network and that’s why peak speeds weren’t higher… Fair enough, but let’s not forget that these same carriers are currently making big investments in 4G LTE. AT&T has confirmed on numerous occasions that it will launch LTE in several markets starting this summer, and now even Sprint is reportedly beginning to invest in 4G LTE as well.

If their current 4G networks are so great, why bother?

Just as Verizon took its trailing position in the smartphone race and turned it on its head to offer what is arguably the best smartphone portfolio in the country, the nation’s top carrier is now doing the same thing with its network. CDMA was old and slow two years ago, and now it’s practically laughable. There’s nothing laughable about a 4G LTE network that consistently outperforms my wireline broadband service, however, and Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile are stuck playing follow the leader.

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AT&T 3G-compatible BlackBerry PlayBook could launch this spring; LTE version to follow

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

A new rumor on Tuesday suggests that RIM is currently developing a version of its upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook compatible with AT&T’s 3G cellular data networks. CIO’s Mobile Workhorse blog cites a trusted source in reporting that AT&T’s version of the PlayBook tablet will launch in late March or early April. The same source states that an LTE version will follow soon after the release of the 3G version. Only two BlackBerry PlayBook models have been announced by RIM so far — a Wi-Fi-only version that will launch this quarter and a 4G WiMAX-enabled model that will become available from Sprint some time this summer. RIM is on target to begin taking orders for the Wi-Fi version of its tablet sometime in February according to the report, and orders will be filled sometime in March.


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Verizon Wireless-compatible Apple iPad in the works

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Verizon Wireless will soon sell a new version of the Apple iPad compatible with its cellular networks, Bloomberg reports. The news comes as another blow to AT&T on Tuesday, following Verizon’s announcement that it would begin selling Apple’s iPhone 4 next month. In an interview with Bloomberg, Verizon Communications Chief Financial Officer Francis Shammo said that an upcoming iPad model would include an embedded chip that will allow it to connect to Verizon Wireless’ data networks. Shammo did not specify if the forthcoming iPad would work on Verizon’s 3G data network or its new 4G LTE network, but previous rumors suggest that the next-generation iPad will include a CDMA radio. Verizon Wireless began selling the Wi-Fi-only iPad this past October, offering the popular iOS tablet bundled with a Verizon MiFi mobile hotspot.


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Android phones are biggest bandwidth hogs

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

A study conducted recently by network technology firm Arieso showed that Android users move more data over cellular networks than any other group of smartphone users. The study mentions high-resolution cameras along with video recording and sharing capabilities as being among Android’s biggest bandwidth hogging features. Due to Android’s rapid growth, carriers find themselves struggling to keep up with the ever-increasing congestion on their networks. “Smartphone subscriptions are rising and so too is subscriber appetite for mobile data. It’s a trend that’s set to continue,” Arieso CTO Michael Flanagan told Reuters. The move to next-generation “4G” network technologies like WiMAX and LTE will help carriers accomodate the demand for data, but rolling out these new networks takes a tremendous amount of time and resources. Sprint began lighting up its WiMAX network last year but coverage is still very limited, and Verizon Wireless just flipped the switch on LTE in 38 cities, though it currently does not offer any LTE-compatible cell phones. AT&T and T-Mobile will not begin rolling out LTE until next year.


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