New Super Wi-Fi: Will it Deliver?

Wi-Fi and other technologies that are supposed to make wireless connectivity ubiquitous have been somewhat slow in coming and we are often hearing ‘great things are around the corner’ but they have not truly delivered. This article on Wired.com By Ryan Singel looks into what might be possible with the new lower frequency Wi-Fi being researched now.

Wifi! By Florian Boyd/flickr. Used with gratitude via a Creative Commons license.

In late September, the FCC announced it would be freeing up spectrum from television broadcasters and opening it to public use to create “super Wi-Fi.”

Tech industry groups and public interests groups hailed the new “white-space spectrum” as a way to expand upon the success of the open frequencies that allow anyone to set up a Wi-Fi radio hot spot in their house or coffee shop, without needing to buy spectrum or get a license.

But what will this super-Wi-Fi look like in practice? Will it replace the 3G service we pay for for our smartphones? How fast will it be? Will we need new equipment or can our current laptops and cellphones just be upgraded?

Wired.com asked the experts at smart Wi-Fi equipment maker Ruckus Wireless in Sunnyvale, California, to find out.

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Mobile Phone Next Steps

Apple’s contract is confirmed for a 5 year exclusivity (iPhones only on AT&T until 2012).

There has been this constant buzzing & chatter about iPhones on Verizon since Jobs blessed the early adopters with his mobile golden egg.

As always, these rumors continue although as recently as a week ago, with the release of iOS4 and AT&T’s ‘free’ or discounted upgrades to the iPhone4, the industry reads into it more possibility that a CDMA version or alternative iPhone will be made available to Verizon customers.

It was on that article that I was introduced to the idea of LTE. Now, I have heard of 4S, the next progression from 3G, but hadn’t really thought about what it could mean in terms of technology. This actually sounds exciting and it looks as thought the technology will be adopted by all the major carriers.

This means that regardless of your carrier, or even your phone, your upload and download speeds should increase exponentially.

Apple WWDC 2009 Highlights

wwdc storefront

There were not too many surprises at for the announcements today at the opening of WWDC 2009. The release date continues to be the same for the iPhone 3.0 update and there newest iPhone. There are some Snow Leopard announcements and some hardware changes for the year. This is a list of the essentials.

iPhone 3.0 is free for iPhone owners, naturally. $9.95 for iPod touch owners. Available worldwide June 17, the day often cited and the most likely release date for the new iPhone.

The key improvements for the 3.0 software have been heard before (additional blog entries on iPhone 3.0 Software updates):

  • Cut, copy & paste
  • Landscape and landscape keyboard to Mail, Notes and Messages
  • In app purchases (e.g. magazine subscriptions)Peer to peer connectivity (for games, mostly)
  • Accessories (glucose level readers best example)
  • Maps. Embed Google Map services into your app. Turn by turn directions
  • Push notifications. ESPN score alerts. Instant messages. Numbers (like how many messages are backed up).
  • Sounds.

iPhone 3GS announced today. 2 to 3.6 times faster. Not everything is as fast. Average two times faster. Built in 7.2 Mbps HSDPA. Amazing features (most of which we’ve heard in the rumors previously):

  • Built-in camera. 3 megapixel, not 3.2 as expected. Autofocus, whitebalance, exposure, tap to focus. Low light sensitivity better. Automacro as well, as close as 10 cm away.
  • Also captures video. New switch that says still or video. 30 frames per second. autofocus etc.
  • Edit from the iPhone.
  • Can share (AT&T doesn’t yet)
  • Voice control. Hold down the home button. Commands you can use are scrolling by. Call contact. What’s playing now. Play more songs like this (makes Genius playlist on the fly.)
  • Built-in digital compass.
  • Accessibility features.
  • Support for Nike +
  • Hardware encryption (for the IT guys). Makes for instantaneous remote wipe.
  • Improved battery life. Up to 9 hours surfing with wifi, 30 hours of audio, 12 hours of 2G talk time, 5 hours of 3G talk.
  • Fastest, most powerful iPhone yet

This new iPhone is coming July 19. There is a $99 iPhone, available now. There are new MacBook Pros. And there are lots of things for the developers to learn about iPhone 3.0 and Mac OS X. But there is no Steve Jobs. He seems to be out of the picture (at least until July 19th).

Prices for new iPhone:

  • 16 GB $199
  • 32 GB $299
  • In addition, keeping the iPhone 3G on the market for $99 for 8 GB

That 8GB price starts today.

For more details, see:

Apple

Blackberry Storm New Update

blackberry storm

As Verizon gets ready to release the Storm in its stores here in the U.S., the hype on the net is reaching fever pitch.

They have a new flash presentation that details its specs and capabilities up:

Storm Presentation

There are blogs-A-plenty comparing the Storm with the iPhone (looks like the Storm is winning)

Networld

I have been really excited about these releases (Android, iPhone 3G, Storm). Since I have had good service from Verizon over the last 6 years, I was thinking that now that my contract is up I still want to stay with them. All it would take would be to feel that they have a phone that will serve me well in the coming two years while my business is really taking off.

I figured with the merging of smart phone/enterprise features of the Blackberry line and the “Gee Whiz” factor of touchscreens and entertainment , that the Storm would be a slam-dunk for me.

There is just one pesky doubt in my mind. The Storm does not allow for Wi-Fi connectivity. With all the other features it sports, I had hoped that they would include this low cost alternative to the 3G data option.

With my iPod Touch, I am constantly using the Wi-Fi option and living in the Bay Area, I can’t go more than a couple miles without finding a hot spot.

Am I just being too demanding? Am I being a difficult customer?

WiFi on Public Transportation

Several Airlines have started providing Wifi on their flights for passengers, including American and Delta. The price is $12.95. I had heard about this a few weeks ago and am glad to see them moving forward with a plan that will allow people to be more productive on those long flights. There is a good article stating Five Reasons Why it Will Take Off. I wonder if you pay for the service if they will still make you turn off all your devices during take-off and landing? is that time prorated?

I am taking the Amtrak tomorrow (really later today) to go to San Jose for a conference on internet video, gaming and other technical aspects of my job. NVision. I was hoping there would be Wifi on the train as well. It IS the Capitol Corridor. This is the Bay Area for gosh sakes, we can’t even go get out double lattes without needing to check email and twitter!

Alas, the project to provide Wifi on the train won’t be completed until 2009. I guess I’ll have to resort to the 3G network instead. Drat.