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December 2011

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xG Technology Making Progress

December 29, 2011

You may recall xG technology is a company based in Florida - they made some incredible claims regarding their wireless technology regarding range and capacity. Over time they scaled back their claims and I went to their office to verify they had a working network.

The buzz on the Internet from detractors was that their technology wasn't scalable. Many of these detractors were quite hostile actually and attacked me directly - for basically recording in video and words what I saw with my own eyes (here is a link to many of the company's videos - many made by myself and TMC).

But getting back to the company they have a few news items worth sharing.

First off is the news they signed a teaming agreement with Force 3 allowing their technology to be bid as the cellular wireless component to the US Army. The results of the RFP will be decided in the summer of 2012. The xMax cognitive radio solution was deployed earlier this year in six-month field trials conducted by the US Army, as well as by technicians in the Army Research laboratory.

Moreover the wireless network I actually tested a few years back serving Broward and Miami-Dade counties has been leased for exclusive use for the sum of $15 million.







Quad-Core Galaxy S III Rumored to be at MWC

December 29, 2011

It isn't like quad-core smartphones are unexpected but it is still amazing that the power of four processors can be sandwiched between thin pieces of glass - communicating over 4G networks and doing what a supercomputer of just over a decade or so ago could do.

This past November I wrote a piece equating the absolutely ferocious pace of advancements in the Android space to the same situation back in the eighties where the PC slaughtered Apple in the price/performance wars. The core of my argument was the Samsung Galaxy S II a sleek smartphone sporting a dual core 1.5 GHz processor, 4G and a 4.5 inch Super AMOLED Plus display. It is a brilliant device and immediately gave me Android envy. The story which is repeating itself is an entire industry will be competing, coming out with faster and better devices while Apple will have fewer product rollouts.

Julius Genachowski Makes Brilliant Move at FCC in Hiring Henning Schulzrinne as CTO

December 29, 2011

Earlier this month, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the appointment of Henning Schulzrinne as Chief Technology Officer – a major move forward for the FCC and the US communications regulatory environment. This move was made in-part because the FCC has had to keep up with fairly rapid changes in the communications and networking worlds. Telephony was once a circuit-switched service provided by a handful of large telecommunications companies and a number of regional players.

It was relatively easy to understand and regulate.

Enough with the Airplane Gadget Ban

December 28, 2011

I have been highly skeptical of gadget bans on airplanes as I have seen the rules change repeatedly in a contradictory manner. First you can use laptops during takeoff and landing, then you can’t. Then you can use gadgets but not after the doors of the planes close. First you can’t emit radio signals on the airplane but then WiFi starts being something you can charge for so you can use WiFi but not bluetooth.

Gameloft Reinvents Self at 3D GTML5 Game on Google+

December 27, 2011

I am a huuuge Gameloft fan – which subsequently means my family isn’t. Some of my favorite games are N.O.V.A 2 a futuristic game where you kill aliens and robots on another planet, Zombie Infection, a game where you basically kill zombies (the company recently upgraded the program with a long-play “survival” mode at no cost) and Modern Combat 3 from Gameloft Montreal – an awesome futuristic military game which like the others is addictive and believe it or not has some really funny one-liners.

Modern Combat 3 Fallen Nation, Cold-Blooded, Day 12, Siberia - two scenes - the second with sniper rifle zoom

I just read on HTML5 Report – a venture between TMC and Crossfire Media that the company is now going to look into 3D HTML5 games on social networks such as Google+.

This is very exciting news because the company makes some solid iPad games and HTML5 means a larger potential audience for the new titles they produce.


Ultrabooks, Kindle Fires and the New World Apple Must Compete in

December 27, 2011

I have had many friends and relatives share their gadget purchase decisions with me these past weeks and none of them were Apple products. Most were Kindle and one Nook. Based on my informal questioning it seems the only reason to not buy an iPad and instead a gadget from Barnes & Noble or Amazon is price.

In other words I get the sense these purchases would all be iPad 2s if the prices were similar.

Sun-Believable: a Solar Paint Advancement

December 27, 2011


A team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame has made a major advance toward this vision by creating an inexpensive "solar paint" that uses semiconducting nanoparticles to produce energy. The advance was made with nano-sized particles of titanium dioxide, which were coated with either cadmium sulfide or cadmium selenide. The particles were then suspended in a water-alcohol mixture to create a paste.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for researchers is to get the efficiency levels to be as great if not greater than typical solar cells which means around 10-15%.


Does PhoneDog Lawsuit Mean a New Twitter Revenue Opportunity?

December 27, 2011

Gadget review and news site PhoneDog is suing a former worker Noah Kravitz over a Twitter account even though when he left the company he changed his Twitter handle from one which implied company sponsorship (@PhoneDog_Noah) to one which didn’t (@noahkravitz). Kravitz said he had the company’s blessing until they changed their mind after Kravitz began promoting PhoneDog competitor TechnoBuffalo.

As a result, his former employer is suing for $2.50/month per Twitter follower or $340,000 over eight months. PhoneDog says in its complaint that this amount is in line with industry standards but it is unclear which standards they are using.

Google Holiday Promo For Your New Gadgets

December 27, 2011

Google is holding back nothing in its desire to promote all its top products and services this holiday season. Sure they have massive amount of advertising space they can utilize on their search and AdSense ad network but they also own the real estate on he Google home page. And although they like to keep things simple, this holiday season there is a new marketing message which graces the search page.



And that message is:

New gadget? Get your new phone, tablet, computer, or spaceship outfitted with Google

And by injecting humor they make it less offensive to purists who don't like overt marketing messages.

What sorts of things are they promoting?



In order they are Chrome, Search/Make Google Your Home Page, Android Market and Google+.

With so many services to promote it is always interesting to see what Google pushes to determine their own internal importance levels.















Online Poker: How Vegas is Evolving With The Times

December 26, 2011

Nevada just approved the ability for companies which are located in its state to provide online poker websites. All they need now id for the US Congress to approve online poker and they are off to the races so to speak. Hey, every market needs to evolve and poker too becomes much more efficient when you don’t force your customers to fly to a smoke-filled room with scantily clad waitresses serving free drinks.

How big a market are we talking about here?

Merry Christmas 2011

December 24, 2011

Will Companies Be Forced into Google+?

December 24, 2011

A month or so ago, Google started to integrate corporate Google+ results into its SERPs or search engine results pages. On the one hand this isn’t such a surprising move as a few days after my Google+ personal page went live it showed up in a Google alert for my name.

The potential challenge here is with this new search result behavior Google may be using its near-monopoly in search to take over another market – namely social networking. While the majority commenters on this post seem to think Google is within its rights, the DoJ may have other thoughts on the matter.

No Ultrabooks at Samsung Experience Store

December 24, 2011

Less Than 2% of Yahoo Users Want to Share on Facebook?

December 24, 2011

Yahoo introduced news sharing on Facebook three months ago and will now roll out sharing to 26 other parts of its site including its omg entertainment news, television, movies and games. According to the AP few people are opting to share their Yahoo! activities on Facebook. In fact the article relays that Yahoo! has said 12 million out of 700 million have chosen to do so.

What You May not Know About the AT&T T-Mobile Breakup

December 24, 2011

Most of my readers no doubt know that AT&T has decided not to pursue the acquisition of T-Mobile USA because the US government deemed the transaction would hurt consumers.

One of the best articles I have seen on the matter however comes from the AP and is worth a read. Here are some highlights:

  • The Justice Department had sued on Aug. 31 to block the merger.
  • AT&T's purchase of fourth–ranked T–Mobile, announced in March, would have made it the largest cellphone company in the U.S.
  • AT&T will now have to pay Deutsche Telekom $3 billion in cash as a breakup fee and give it about $1 billion worth of spectrum.
  • It will also enter into a roaming agreement with Deutsche Telekom so that AT&T's and T–Mobile's customers can use each other's networks.
  • Craig Moffett says AT&T's spectrum needs aren't so grave that it needs to make a large acquisition right away.

How Stoke and Autism Patents Kinect

December 24, 2011

You know I am “in love” with technology because it boots productivity and efficiency but did you know what I love even more about tech? How it helps people with disabilities. Check out how the Xbox Kinect helps people with strokes and autism. Now this is amazing stuff.

Intel Sees HTML5, Ultrabooks and More in Tech's Future

December 23, 2011

This past August Intel invested $300M in an Ultrabook fund and if you haven’t had a chance to use these high-end laptops from companies like Asus and Toshiba – you should… They are pretty incredible. Light, thin, efficient and fast. I have finally lost my MacBook Air envy. In fact a trip to Best Buy a few minutes ago got me so revved up about this category I’m looking for new risky things to do with my relatively new laptop to hasten its demise.

Why Akamai Picked up Cloud CDN Player Cotendo

December 23, 2011

Yesterday Akamai picked up CDN Competitor Cotendo, a company with a suite of services which accelerate every bit of the CDN food chain starting from the DNS to small and large objects. The acquisition was valued at 9 times 2011 revenue of $30M or $268M. The company has three areas of focus from ad networks to enterprise and ecommerce. Check out the most recent video interview I conducted with Misha Kuperman the VP of Operations at Cotendo on July 15, 2010 where Misha explained to me how strong business was not only in the US but internationally.

Microsoft Live 365 Deal With MasterCard Shows Cloud is Mainstream

December 22, 2011

Microsoft recently inked a deal with MasterCard which entails the company joining Microsoft's Office 365 program. This means MasterCard will provide a 10 percent savings to eligible small business cardholders when they purchase Office 365 through the MasterCard Easy Savings Program.

What caused great interest to me however was the list of other companies participating in the program such as Avis, Budget, Bing, Firestone, DHL, Continental Airlines, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, the US Postal Service and Harry & David. So Microsoft Office 365 has joined the ranks of consumer companies such as Firestone and Harry & David - yes, the gift basket company.

If this doesn't mean that the cloud is mainstream, I am not sure what does.

Another thought is that the main competitor here is Google, a company with virtually limitless remnant advertising space via its market-leading search engine.

It is worth pointing out that Microsoft is a marketing machine and when they devote themselves to taking over a market they are generally relentless.

We'll see if this move does much to move the needle in the direction of Redmond in the cloud wars. Personally I see it as a small part of a grand strategy to overwhelm customers with Microsoft's cloud-based office, UC and other solutions.









Will Microsoft Departure Kill CES?

December 22, 2011

Can one major defector kill a trade show institution?

It happened with COMDEX – the show got so big that it exerted tremendous pressure on companies to spend more and more money to keep their coveted locations on the show floor. Location – being in the North Hall of Las Vegas was so important in fact that companies acquired others so they could improve their location! And as the desire to be in an important location increased, show organizers decided to increase the sizes of the booths exhibitors had to take in order to remain in important halls.

Will AT&T Divest in 2012?

December 22, 2011

TMC Senior Editor Peter Bernstein thinks AT&T may explore divestiture options next year and it is a conceivable thought. Moreover, what is worth thinking about is what will the Department of Justice do with other high-profile acquisition attempts next year. After all, Peter’s prediction is obviously made because in-part the AT&T and T-Mobile deal wasn’t approved.

Many of Peter’s predictions for next year are thought-provoking and AT&T is number one of the list.

Is This Why Web Sales Are Through the Roof?

December 21, 2011

Holiday sales are up 15% to a record $32 billion so far. And you have to stop and wonder why the numbers are growing so quickly... After all Amazon isn't new. It isn't like people weren't comfortable with online shopping last year or the year before. 

One theory is that free shipping by a number of retailers as well as the more recent free reverse shipping for returns has led shoppers to be more comfortable with the web as a shopping vehicle.

Super Bowl Streaming to Accelerate Mobile and Web Video?

December 21, 2011

For the first time you will be able to stream the Super Bowl online and using a Verizon 4G device you can watch for free but 3G device users will have to pay a monthly fee of $10 for access. For users who are at a computer and most likely on a device needing Adobe’s Flash you will be able to watch for free on NFL.com and NBCSports.com.

In another plus, the one event where consumers actually look forward to watching the commercials is the Super Bowl and NBC has confirmed users will be able to watch the TV ads shortly after they air on TV via the web. Unfortunately the default in-game ads for those not watching TV will be different.

Verizon MiFi 4510L Mobile Hotspot Review

December 21, 2011

Recently I was emailing with one of my contacts at Verizon asking what the hot devices are from his perspective and during our conversation I mentioned I have Verizon 3G in my laptop but haven’t had a chance to try Verizon 4G. Without a beat he offered me a 4G MiFi Mobile Hotspot to test and review. It’s funny really, I am not starved for connectivity but this device made my business life much easier… It is an essential device for the cloud-based world we are moving to. After all, if all your apps live somewhere else and you don’t have the best connectivity possible, you really aren’t able to leverage the cloud.

Great Geek Gadget Gifts

December 21, 2011

Alianza Lands Huge Clearwire Cloud Communications Deal

December 20, 2011

Fasten your seat-belts - this is getting interesting... cloud-communications provider Alianza just landed a four-year hosted software licensing agreement with Clearwire. Alianza's end-to-end voice platform combines all the back-office platform management, product management, and end-user support functions into a single web-based administrative user interface and this deal marks perhaps one of the largest if not largest cloud-based VoIP deal I am aware of. Company President and CEO Brian Beutler certainly thinks this is the largest deal in the industry...

Bluetooth Smart Ready Shows Potential

December 19, 2011

Bluetooth to me is one of the most convenient technologies I use as it allows me to get rid of the cord from my mobile and desk phones. I am surprised actually that everyone doesn't use a stereo bluetooth headset - at gyms around the country it seems like one out of 10 music listeners have given up their typically white cords in favor of new technology.

Frankly I just don't get it but am hoping that the new bluetooth 4.0 standard which is more miserly with power will make a good technology even more useful. It is worth pointing out the SIG wants you to refer to it as Bluetooth Smart Ready.

In theory the power consumption is so low that you can get a year out of a device using a button size battery - now that's low-power.

As you might imagine, applications in home automation and the medical field are prime examples of where such a low-power wireless technology will shine.

Thanks to Kickstarter there may soon be an automotive app - one which syncs with your iPhone 4S which was the first phone to support bluetooth 4.0 BTW. The solution constantly updates your car's location via a small device which is connected to your automobile.







Ignoring Increased Accident Evidence, NTSB Pushes Gadget While Driving Ban

December 17, 2011

Recently the NTSB voted this week to recommend all 50 states and the District of Columbia enact laws banning the use of personal electronics including hands free and handheld devices while driving. While it is obvious to all of us that using a smartphone to surf the web and text while driving is a major distraction I should also like to point out that perhaps the NTSB is focusing on the wrong area. After all, fixing your hair, daydreaming, dealing with kids in the back seat, eating, drinking, sneezing, coughing, crying, laughing, dealing with difficult radio controls which often by the way manifest themselves in the dashboards of German automobiles are potentially more distracting than texting. At least that’s my take on the issue.

Avaya's Top Communication Trends in 2012

December 16, 2011

Recently I had a chance to have an in-depth conversation with Avaya about the trends they see for 2012 in the communications space. In particular I spoke with George Humphrey a Director and Line of Business Owner at Avaya and Diane Royer, Senior Marketing Services Manager.

The trends below are at times augmented or enhanced with my thoughts.

1) Mobility raises the expectation of availability

With Rypple Acquisition Salesforce on Track to be Cloud-Based Oracle

December 16, 2011

In the early nineties I was and SQL programmer in a market dominated by companies like Oracle and Informix. At the time these database companies stuck to their core competency. Fast forward a few decades and Oracle sells software in virtually every space. Moreover they are a revenue generating machine as they have gobbled up so many companies; there are few other choices in the market.

Gaga Makes Twitter Sitelink on Google

December 15, 2011

TMC Holiday Party Late This Afternoon

December 15, 2011

Some E-Books Now Cost More than Paperbacks

December 15, 2011

Its a staggering concept really - e-books don't need to be printed or shipped and aside from the cost to transmit an electronic book on a wireless M2M network to a non-WiFi Amazon Kindle reader, distribution is a matter of very small bandwidth and cloud charges. We're talking a fraction of a penny or so.

So hearing that electronic books are in some cases more expensive than their print counterparts is a bit surprising. Turns out Apple pushed the major book publishers to set retail prices as opposed to charging a wholesale price and letting book discounters set the price based on market demand.

This is why books on the Kindle have escalated in cost from $9.99 to $18.99 or even more.

Obviously convenience is a factor as not having to lug physical books is a great benefit as is being able to have various devices sync and allow you to continue reading your book on any reader you choose.

But this story is more than one of increased convenience manifesting itself into higher prices - or free markets at work. Turns out Steve Jobs didn't want to compete on discounted book pricing with Amazon so he lobbied book sellers to set retail prices for e-books.







American Superconductor and the Case of Chinese Industrial Espionage

December 15, 2011

 

Last year I had a chance to sit down with Jason Fredette of American Superconductor about their state of the art technology which allows wind turbines to be more efficient. Moreover the company talked about its strong focus on superconductor wire which is a small fraction of the size of traditional copper wire. I was intrigued – I figured this is the sort of company that becomes the next major tech innovator… One that will do very well for investors.

Craiglist as Kidney Transplant Lifesaver

December 14, 2011

When Selena Hodge needed a new kidney she turned to an unlikely place – Craigslist. The site which many blame for inflicting great pain on the newspaper classified business turned out to be not only be the solution of last resort for Hodge but a lifesaving platform which connected her with a total stranger willing to give up an organ based on an online ad.

Turns out finding kidneys online has happened before based on this article detailing not only specific cases but more importantly a website Living Kidney Door Search which was created in 2010 by Suzanne Kloss.

Nokia says we are Fed up With iPhones

December 13, 2011

In an interview with Pocket-lint, Niels Munksgaard, director of Portfolio, Product Marketing & Sales at Nokia Entertainment Global said the youth of today are fed up with iPhones and Androids are too complicated and insecure. My informal analysis of the situation shows that yes, many people do think Android is too complex but I am not sure security on mobile devices is a main concern of consumers. Regarding Apple, it is very possible he is right but the flipside to this argument is that Apple consumers are locked in.

Consider the fact that once you switch to another phone manufacturer, your apps no longer work and your chargers don’t either.

TouchFire Keyboard the Ideal iPad 2 Companion?

December 12, 2011

Last week while up in Boston shooting videos of a number of tech and telecom companies in the area, I realized I left my laptop power cord at home. Thankfully I took my clunky “luggable” Apple iPad keyboard with me and used it and the iPad to approximate the functionality laptop. It wasn’t the same due to some challenges I had with blogging software but I hope this annoyance gets resolved soon.

But what the experience showed me is the iPad can be even better with a solid keyboard.

Sites, Apps and Gadgets for the Holidays

December 12, 2011

Google Currents Crashes Newsreader Party

December 9, 2011

Flipboard calls itself the pocket-sized social magazine and this is an apt description for a social newsreader so popular that this week when it launched an iPhone edition, it was overwhelmed with traffic and crashed. Obviously there is tremendous interest in this category which explains why in April of this year the company raised $50M at a $200M valuation.

Another player in the space Yahoo! has Livestand, an app which has improved over the months but still has a somewhat non-intuitive user interface.

HTML5 Event DevCon5 Has Started in Santa Clara

December 7, 2011

Rich has Blogging Envy

December 6, 2011

We are having an unusual weather pattern this week. Case in point, this week last year the team at TMC was up in Boston shooting videos and meeting with some of the leading tech companies in Massachusetts and as I recall it was ice cold. Below freezing with bitter cold winds. This year, it is warm and muggy even.

Microsoft, .XXX and White Spaces News

December 6, 2011

Dotcom All Over Again?

December 5, 2011

This time domain names = IP addresses and dotcom = cloud

The idea of cloud is not new – think mainfraimes, ADP for payroll and the ASP market of over a decade ago. This time though the investors are behind the move and it seems potentially for good. I say “potentially” because I launched a magazine to educate the market on the cloud revolution called Communications ASP in 2001 and it was a mega-success for a few issues until almost all our advertisers told us at once that their investors no longer allowed them to use the term ASP.

Using Amazon to Compare Kindle Fire to iPad

December 5, 2011

Apple customer loyalty is the stuff of legend as anyone who visited an Apple store this holiday season can attest to and to delve further into this issue Philip Elmer-DeWitt at CNNMoney did some research on Amazon to see which device customers liked better. As the Kindle Fire has only been out a short while it may be unfair to compare the devices as Apple has had some years to improve the tablet’s software. Then again, running on Android, the Kindle Fire does benefit from software updates which have been issued to solve problems faced by other tablet and smartphone makers.

The bottom line is the Kindle fire has 47% five-star reviews and 13.3% one-star reviews.

Altigen's iFusion: Fuses the Desk Phone & iPhone

December 2, 2011



The smartphone and tablet are taking the world by storm and this information isn’t lost on Altigen Communications the company who literally revolutionized the communications space in the nineties by merging the best of the PC and telephone into an office phone system for small companies. I remember meeting the company’s VP of Marketing Gary Andresen in 1996 as he showed the fascinating concept of merging the best of the PC and telephony worlds. For the next ten years or so Altigen evolved and went upmarket but in the past few years they’ve been very quiet. Part of the reason for the slowing in PR and marketing has to do with the company retooling its portfolio and evolving its strategy.

I'm off to New York for a Meeting Today

December 2, 2011

Moderating an MSP Webinar Today

December 1, 2011

Today, December 1st, 2011 at 2:00 pm EST I will be moderating a webinar discussing the value of managed services. The webinar sponsored by Sprint will feature a presentation from Johna Till Johnson the President of Nemertes research as well a live customer case study from Joseph Carpico, Manager, Range and Communications Services at satellite launch contractor Energia Logistics, LTD. In addition we will have a panel discussion I will lead analyzing the opportunities for MSP customers and the industry as a whole. In addition we will get to hear the perspective of Mike Cole, Manager of Managed Solutions at Sprint.

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