Maybe we should call this the era of mobility, because when we look back, we'll remember this time period as when cell phones transformed into smartphones (and superphones), tablet computing debuted without falling on its face, and handheld devices of all kinds boasted high-speed Internet connectivity. The mobile device market is a big one, and Atheros wants to make sure it's being served with the same attention as the desktop. Atheros, which specializes in wireless chipsets, plans to do that by introducing two new "groundbreaking" Wi-Fi solutions for mobile gadgets.
Just when you thought you were on top of things by ripping out your old networking gear and replacing it all with 802.11n compliant devices, a new standard is on the horizon. It's called 802.11ac and it's a new Wi-Fi technology that promises 1Gbps speeds. According to In-Stat, 802.11ac will roll out next year, and by 2015 will dominate the market with nearly 1 billion 802.11ac-enabled devices.
Internet users are growing bolder by the year. In 2008, a poll revealed that 18 percent of respondants admitted to, um, "borrowing" someone else's Wi-Fi. And now? That number has jumped to 32 percent, according to a recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research in conjunction with the Wi-Fi Alliance. With an estimated 201 million households using Wi-Fi, it's easy to see why wireless security is more important than ever.
Boy Genius Report discovered a new memo (PDF) up on Verizon Wireless' website that's sure to ruffle a few feathers, particularly if you're one of the wireless carrier's heaviest data users. Here's the short and sweet of it:
"If you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5 percent of Verizon Wireless data users we may reduce your data throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of your then current and immediately following billing cycle to ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand," Verizon explains.
Many wondered how Verizon would handle the increased data demands that an influx of upcoming iPhone 4 subscribers would put on its network, and here's your answer, or at least one of them. The wireless carrier also said it's "implementing optimization and transcoding technologies" to help transmit data more efficiently. These techniques will include caching less data, using less capacity, and sizing the video more appropriately for the device, Verizon said.
MetroPCS continues to shuttle its no annual contract 4G LTE service into more locations, with the latest expansion effort focusing on Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, and Orlando metropolitan areas, the wireless carrier announced. Customers in these and other 4G areas can access the high-speed network on the Samsung Craft, the first and so far the only commercially available 4G LTE handset, MetroPCS says.
"We continue to expand our network so more customers can experience the only no annual contract, unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE Web browsing service available today," said Roger D. Linquist, president, CEO, and chairman of MetroPCS. "MetroPCS is giving customers everything they want -- an affordable 4G LTE phone, more choices, and the best value in 4G LTE service to stay connected, be entertained, and do more -- without sacrificing time or money."
4G LTE plans start at $40 through MetroPCS, which includes unlimited talk, text, and Web. There are also $50 and $60 plans which up the ante with additional goodies like instant messaging, unlimited email access, and 4G On Demand with MetroSTUDIO ($60 plan). All three plans included unlimited YouTube.
There are plenty of people excited about Verizon and Apple teaming up to offer the iPhone 4, including a good number of AT&T subscribers eager to join the "Can You Hear Me Now?" network. But should they be?
Consumer Reports doesn't think so. The outfit called Verizon's CDMA iPhone 4 a "middle-aged device" and said buyers would be wise to wait for a newer model.
"The Verizon Wireless iPhone 4 has plenty in its favor, especially compared with its AT&T sibling," Consumer Reports explains in a blog post. "But it may be quickly replaced by a newer, cooler version more quickly than is customary even for the die-young life expectancy of most smartphones."
The question is how long Verizon customers will want to wait. According to Consumer Reports, Apple is likely to ship a new iPhone model in June or July, as has previously been the case, so this "middle-aged" device boils down to "a transitional phone to tide Verizon through until the Summer."
Read all of what Consumer Reports had to say right here.
It was always a safe bet that once Apple's iPhone 4 broke free from its exclusivity shackles and landed at Verizon, AT&T would lose a portion of its subscriber base as a result. Now we have some hard numbers to work with.
In a recent survey conducted by ChangeWave Research, 15 percent of AT&T's customers said they're ready to find greener grass on the other side within the next 90 days, Yahoo News reports. Incidentally, that's the exact same turnover rate indicated by by T-Mobile customers. Compare those figures with just 4 percent of Verizon customers who say they're eager to switch.
"Now that consumers have a choice of carriers to host their iPhones, AT&T is certain to see a decline is its quarterly Apple sales," said Alex Spektor of Strategy Analytics.
For its part, AT&T isn't overly concerned, or at least it's putting on a good poker face.
"There are lots of surveys out there, but what really matters is how people vote with their dollars," said Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesperson. "In the third quarter of 2010 we had 5.2 million iPhone activations, up from 3.2 million in the second quarter. If people thought the iPhone was coming to another carrier, which turned out to be the case, it might suggest people would wait, but that didn't happen. Those 5.2 million new customers reinforce our feeling that the effect of the loss of exclusivity has been greatly overstated."
To help stem the tide towards Verizon, AT&T will put more of its chips behind Android, particularly upcoming 4G devices like the dual-core Motorola Atrix 4G.
MetroPCS has managed to piss off a bunch of public interest groups for violating the FCC's Net neutrality rules by blocking select Internet content, CNet reports.
Representatives from the Center for Media Justice, Free Press, Media Access Project, New America Foundation, and Presente.org sent a joint letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski complaining that MetroPCS is blocking or capping access to popular Internet applications and services, including Skype, Google Voice, and Netflix.
"MetroPCS appears to be in violation of the Commission's recently adopted Internet rules," the letter states. "Although these rules have not yet taken effect, the Commission must not use this as an excuse to ignore or delay action on MetroPCS's harmful practices."
The letter's authors say that even if MetroPCS claims it needs to limit VoIP services for its lowest service plan as a form of "reasonable network management," that argument should be dismissed.
"VoIP services require little bandwidth to operate, and contribute little congestion to broadband networks," the letter states. "Furthermore, the MetroPCS plans permit unlimited YouTube viewing, which (even if compressed) likely requires more bandwidth and creates more congestion than many VoIP communications."
After months and months of rumors and specuation about Apple's iPhone heading to Verizon, we have...another rumor. So what's different this time?
For starters, we won't have to wait very long to find out if the latest buzz is a bunch of B.S. Reuters, quoting one of its sources, says Verizon will at long last unveil a version of the iPhone tomorrow, with sales of the device to follow a few weeks later.
No other details are yet known, such as pricing, and won't be until Verizon officially announces the partnership on Tuesday. But should this actually happen, it will be a huge win for Verizon, and a big loss for AT&T, which has been the sole wireless carrier of the iPhone since Apple launched the device over three years ago.
Does the possibility excite you, or are you fully entrenched with Android/RIM/WP7?
Like many others, TrendNet is using the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to announce a handful of new products, one of which is the first to market 450Mbps Wireless N Gaming Adapter, model TEW-687GA.
"TrendNet was ecstatic to be able to deliver the first ever 450Mbps wireless n router to market in early June of last year, followed by the first ever 450Mbps access point last month," stated Pei Huang, President and CEO of TrendNet. "The fact that we are also on pace to launch the first 450Mbps wireless n adapter is yet another signal of TrendNet's ability to innovate in the wireless networking space."
When paired with a 450Mbps router, TrendNet says its TEW-687GA will blast through the 150Mbps performance barrier, while also delivering sustained wireless transmission bursts in excess of 200Mbps. There are no drivers to install or other setup hoops to jump through -- just hook it up and you're ready to go, TrendNet says.
The TEW-687GA will be available this month for $150.