MediaFile

Cisco tries to free up internet traffic jam

There is nothing more infuriating than a slow mobile connection. With people bringing their own devices to  workand everywhere else, wireless networks will be working hard to accommodate the mobile traffic flood.  

Here’s where Cisco comes in: On Tuesday, it unveiled a wireless access point called the Aironet 3600 Series, which can increase the speed of connection by up to 30 percent on any kind of mobile device no matter how weak or strong the network is. 

According to Cisco, it is the first company to offer access points with four antennas and three spatial streams. What does it mean?  Essentially more people have more range to use their devices, even if there is more traffic.

The device make changing lanes on the wireless freeway easier so your device can find a faster lane and congestion never gets very dense.

But it isn’t cheap–$1,495 for an internal Aironet 3600 and $1,595 for an outdoor one. .

Tech wrap: Is the DoJ right to oppose the AT&T, T-Mobile deal?

The Justice Department sued to block AT&T’s $39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile USA because eliminating T-Mobile as a competitor would be disastrous for consumers and would raise prices, particularly because the smaller provider offers low prices, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit is a serious attempt to halt a “fundamentally flawed” deal, not a tactic to wring out-sized concessions from AT&T, a source familiar with the lawsuit said.

Dan Frommer says blocking the deal won’t help make service quality any better. A merger would create more spectrum to offer better, faster, more reliable service, Frommer writes. Also, its shortsighted to look at today’s pricing and market and use them as strict guides for the future, as voice and SMS service are disrupted by Internet technology, and as carriers try to charge more for 4G LTE access than they did for 3G access, Frommer added.

Breakingviews columnists Robert Cox, Robert Cyran and Richard Beales say the wireless industry in the U.S. is essentially a duopoly and that the DoJ suit against the AT&T, T-Mobile deal protects smaller providers.

Sprint: When all else fails, call a magician

davidblaineAfter bigger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T stole the limelight at the Consumer Electronics Show with promises of multiple advanced phones for this year, now Sprint Nextel is trying to grab some attention with a stunt of its own.

In an intentionally mysterious invitation, the No. 3 U.S. mobile provider says it has enlisted the help of illusionist David Blaine to show the world how “Sprint’s making the Impossible Possible” at a New York Event scheduled for February 7.

Sprint’s promising that the event will be “a lot of fun” but it is mum on whether Blaine plans relive his Times Square encasement in a block of ice or his vertigo stunt in Bryant Park.

Verizon’s iPhone antenna ‘death grip’ proof?

vzapplOn the face of it, the iPhone 4 unveiled by Verizon Wireless on Tuesday is pretty much the same device that AT&T has been selling. It costs the same, and features essentially the same bells and whistles — with the nice addition of a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, that allows up to five other devices to share its wireless signal.

But the blogosphere quickly picked up on one intriguing change in Verizon’s iPhone: the all-important antenna, which wraps around the device. You can see some pics from Gizmodo here, highlighting the differences between iPhones offered by Verizon and AT&T.

You will recall that the antenna for AT&T’s iPhone was the source of quite the uproar last summer, when some users complained of poor reception and dropped calls when holding the device a certain way.  The issue unexpectedly snowballed, giving rise to such memorable phrases as “Antennagate” and “iPhone 4 death grip.” Of course, none of it seemed to dent iPhone sales.

Liveblog: Verizon set to launch the iPhone. Finally.

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Verizon is set to launch the iPhone today — January 11, 2011 at 11am ET. Cheeky.

Will antennagate be fixed? Will Verizon launch a 4G version by summer? Will Steve Jobs make an appearance on stage or by hologram? Can Verizon Wireless’ network survive the crush? Will AT&T customers in San Francisco stop dropping calls?

We’re live blogging and analyzing the event today. Joining us for the liveblog from New York will be NPD analyst Ross Rubin, Gartner’s Michael Gartenberg and Ritsuko Ando, Reuters correspondent. Sinead Carew of Reuters will also be on scene in New York covering the announcement.

CES: Please turn off your phones and your Wi-Fi

English literature teachers, please tell me if I’m wrong to call this ironic.

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is all about technology, and pack journalists and tech experts all over the world say that wireless will be the next big boom. So why are various companies at this year’s CES begging and in some cases instructing people not to use their wireless devices or their Wi-Fi connections?

Here’s an email that my colleague Alexei Oreskovic received.

Alexei:

We have all heard of or experienced Wi-Fi challenges at high-profile events.

Please help our sponsors demonstrate their products. We ask you to turn off your phone before you enter Showstoppers tonight. If you can’t do that, please turn off Wi-Fi access on your smartphone and other mobile devices, including all mobile hotspot devices and anything else that acts as a mobile access point.

Las Vegas telecoms show fizzles out

The CTIA’s annual U.S. wireless technology showcase in Las Vegas was quieter than usual this year as vendors sent fewer employees and rented less floor space for their booths in an effort to crimp spending due to the recession.

Aside from a lot of talk about cellphone applications and a software store launch from BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, the show offered few surprises.

A handful of operators and vendors, however, offered insights into their technology strategies — even if they were less than keen to indicate how their businesses were faring exactly. Some even launched new gadgets.
    
AT&T, the exclusive operator for the iPhone, used the show as an opportunity to talk up application sales for its less fancy phones, which have brought it $1 billion in revenue in the last few years. In comparison, it does not get a revenue share for iPhone apps, which kicked of the craze for application stores when they launched last year.

Palm Pre at CTIA: Look, don’t touch

At a show where reporters have cellphones and other devices thrust into their hands around every corner, Palm took a novel approach: treat its hot, unreleased handset like Forbidden Fruit.

Palm showed off its upcoming Pre smartphone at the CTIA annual wireless showcase in Las Vegas. The company was still very, very coy about its launch date for the device except to say that it will appear on Sprint’s shelves before July 1.

It was also very careful about letting reporters play with the device to the extent that the product demonstrator, Tina, would not let it fully out of her hands. Reporters were allowed to play with the keyboard — as long as the demonstrator was able to keep her hands on the phone. One reporter asked if she could feel the weight of the phone in her hand, but TIna again kept her hands on part of the phone.

Will Boost’s “so wrong” ads bring it to the masses?

How would you widen your appeal beyond an audience of  14-24 year-olds to say the 18-35 year-old demographic? Some companies might give their advertising a gentler or more grown up tone. Others might throw in a service credit or some airmiles. 
Boost Mobile has decided the right theme is “wrong”
Investors already thought its recently-launched $50 unlimited mobile service plan was so competitive their first reaction was to sell shares in rival companies. The plan’s arrival in a terrible economy plagued with job cuts is also expected to draw crowds. 
But to make sure Boost, a unit of Sprint Nextel, launched an ad campaign designed by Santa Monica-based ad agency 180 LA, to stand out from the clutter. 
One has a coroner eating lunch over a dead body and at one point holding an internal organ in one hand and sandwich in the other. Is this wrong? he asks. Not as wrong like high prices. 
Then there’s a girl on a bike questioning if there’s something wrong about her flowing long arm pit hair.  The answer is of course that its not as wrong as sneaky charges in phone bill.
And what about the cute pig who’s tucking into a plate of ham at the dinner table. 
“Is this so wrong? Its delicious.” says the pig. “I’ll tell you what’s wrong, a cellphone company that advertises one price and charges you hidden fees well north of that.”
Sprint said yesterday that Boost has been taking in 6 times more customers than it is losing since the new plan was launched Jan. 22. Now that  the campaign launched this week on national TV it will be interesting to see the effect on sales.
(Photos: Boost)

Hands-on with Amazon’s Kindle 2.0

Online retailer Amazon.com unveiled a slimmer version of its Kindle digital book reader on Monday, with more storage and faster page turns.

Reuters’ Franklin Paul had a chance to see the new unit in action, as Laura Porco, Director, Kindle Books, demos its text-to-speech and buy on the fly features.