We're almost at the point where we can consider landlines to be old school, or so suggests a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. According to Pew, 59 percent of Americans hop online wirelessly using their mobile phones or laptop.
To come up with that figure, Pew surveyed 2,252 American adults, 47 percent of which said they surf the Internet through Wi-Fi or a mobile broadband card. Another 40 percent said they surf, fire off emails, and IM friends and co-workers on their mobile phones, up from 32 percent one year ago.
"The growing functionality of mobile phones makes them ever-more powerful devices for on-the-go communications and computing," said Aaron Smith, a research specialist at Pew. "Cell phones have become for many owners an all-purpose chat-text-gaming-photo-sharing media hub that is an essential utility for work and a really fancy toy for fun."
It's not really young adults, either. While adults between the age of 18 to 29 use the Web more than anyone else, those who fall into the 30 to 49 age bracket are now "significantly more likely" to take pics, send texts, and surf the Web, record video, use email, and perform other online tasks with their mobile phones.
Trendnet can legitimately claim bragging rights for being the first company to bring a three-stream IEEE 802.11n router to market. Unfortunately, our first impressions of the TEW-691GR are not all that positive. While we never expected this router to deliver actual throughput of 450Mb/s (just as we never expect the far more common two-stream routers to deliver actual throughput of 300Mb/s), its sparse feature set and bipolar real-world performance left us unimpressed.
As you'll see from the benchmark charts, the TEW-691GR proved to be very fast, but only when our wireless client was in relatively close proximity. Trendnet recommends reviewers use a notebook equipped with Intel’s integrated Intel WiFi Link 5300 adapter, because you can’t buy a three-stream USB Wi-Fi adapter today. But since we can’t expect readers to buy a notebook based solely on which wireless network adapter is inside, we elected to stick with the TEW-664UB USB adapter that Trendnet provided.
Best Buy isn't out on a mountain top screaming about its mobile wireless broadband service, but with a couple of mouse clicks, you can uncover a fair amount of details about its Best Buy Connect program.
Rather than take a one-size-fits-all approach, Best Buy Connect comes in a variety of plans, including no contract options and both 1-year and 2-year pricing models. Without a contract, Best Buy will sell you up to 250MB for $30, while all three plans offer up to 500MB for $40 and 5GB for $60. Both service agreements are tied to subsidies on new laptops, with the longer you commit, the more you'll save upfront -- up to $275 off of any compatible laptops when you agree to a 2-year plan.
From what we've uncovered, you'll also be able to log in to your account and monitor your monthly data usage. And to help prevent you from wracking up a ginormous bill filled with overage charges, Best Buy says it will email customers when they get near their monthly allotment.
Airlines have been reluctant to share numbers on just how many passengers are logging on to their expensive in-flight Wi-Fi. Now, some new figures from industry analysts indicate that under 10% of fliers are making use of the internet connections available on many commercial flights. As you might expect, the major factor cited for lack up update is price.
Gogo, the largest in-flight Wi-Fi provider, charges $4.95 for flights 90 minutes or less with the price jumping to $10.95 for flights longer than 90 minutes. There are expected to be 2000 planes in the US equipped with Wi-Fi. The cost is likely to stay the same. Many of the companies running the services are just starting out and need all the revenue they can get.
Still, some don't care about the price. They may see a flight as an excuse to unplug from the interwebs. Have you ever paid for in-flight Wi-Fi? What's a reasonable price for the service?
One rumor that refuses to roll over and play dead is that Apple's iPhone is headed to Verizon. Assuming you're interested in an iPhone in the first place, this sounds like a win-win proposition, if it comes to fruition. Citing "two people familiar with the plans," not only is it going to happen, but relatively soon, as in January 2010, Bloomberg reports.
"Apple is going to dramatically increase the number of devices it sells in the U.S. when exclusivity at AT&T ends," said John Hodulik, an AG Analyst. "It's hard to ignore the quality issues that AT&T faces."
It's also hard to ignore the exclusivity contract between Apple and AT&T, even though all the rumors up to this point seemingly do. Unless Apple and AT&T have come to some sort of altered agreement, the two sides are tied to each other until 2012.
Would you be interested in an iPhone it were offered through Verizon? Hit the jump and sound off.
We've praised the concept of Eye-Fi's wireless SD cards on more than one occasion, and as it turns out, we're not the only ones who values this tech's upshot. Toshiba, in collaboration with Singapore-based Trek 2000 International Ltd., announced the launch of an industry forum whose only purpose is to promote a SD card that integrates Wi-Fi with data storage capabilities, Toshiba said.
"In recent years, as digital cameras have achieved huge rates of market penetration, the need for quick and easy way to share photographs has grown," Toshiba says. "The new card offers an innovative solution that brings new capabilities to the already very popular SDHC format.
"The card is designed to bring Wi-Fi functionality to digital still cameras that have an SDHC slot. Once in a camera, a card can recognize and communicate with the same type of card in another camera (on a one-to-one basis), and users can exchange photographs quickly and easily. It also allows users to upload and download photographs to and from a server without any need for a cable connection or transfers of the memory card."
The card supports IEEE 802.11g/b and stores up to 8GB of data. Applicable formats include JPEG and RAW files, Toshiba says.
AT&T began the month by pulling the plug on its all-you-can-eat mobile data plans. That decision to impose data caps might just have been part of its bid to cope up with explosive demand for mobile bandwidth. Data volumes have risen 5000 percent during the past three years. According to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, the ridiculously high demand for mobile bandwidth is precisely the problem currently afflicting its network.
“So we've been working to get the voice quality back in shape and we've actually done that in New York,” Stephenson told CNBC in an interview. He revealed that the carrier would spend $19 billion on network upgrades over the next five years.
This, Stephenson feels, this will be enough to make AT&T the number one mobile broadband provider in the US, “probably one of the top in the world."
TrendNet might pigeonhole its TEW-647GA Wireless N Gaming Adapter as a gaming-console peripheral, but we think it’s much more useful than that. The tiny device is capable of linking any hard-wired Ethernet device—be it an Xbox, a PC, or a Blu-ray player—to an 802.11b/g/n wireless network for a street price less than $50.
Granted, Microsoft’s own Xbox 360 Wireless N Networking Adapter is smaller still (and draws its power from the Xbox 360’s USB port), but that device is nearly twice as expensive and it doesn’t support anything other than the Xbox 360. The TEW-647GA is a lot prettier to look at, too, with its dual antennas stealthily concealed inside its black plastic housing.
There are three external antennas broadcasting on the 2.4GHz spectrum, each one with three spatial streams to produce a record 450Mbps theoretical wireless throughput, TRENDnet says. You'll also find Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antennae technology to improve signal strength and boost wireless coverage.
"TRENDnet's ability to launch this ground breaking 450Mbps product ahead of other brands says a lot about our recent growth," stated Pei Huang, President and CEO of TRENDnet. "We are ecstatic to set a new performance threshold in the consumer wireless revolution."
As it stands, you can't purchase a service plan for any product through Verizon, no matter how many subscribers wish they could. But according to Boy Genius Report and one of their "highly placed sources," Verizon Wireless is at least testing out an Apple product.
"We have been told that the model they are testing is a CDMA-compatible device, and while our source mentioned LTE in some capacity (possibly another model), we haven’t been able to independently confirm that part of it," Boy Genius Reports writes in a blog post.
As many have done recently, BGR goes on to speculate that we might soon see an Apple product offered through Verizon, but will we really? On the record, Verizon maintains that it has no plans to support any Apple devices in the "immediate future," and as far as anyone knows, Apple's exclusivity agreement with AT&T is valid and runs for another 2 years. Even if Verizon is testing the iPad on its network, it doesn't necessarily mean anything, as companies often test devices.
Still, this will only fan the speculatory flames that are already running hot, and at a time when AT&T just announced new data plans, including one for the iPad.