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Consumer Electronics

Touchfire 2.0 Shows iPad IS a Content Creation Device

March 9, 2013

When the iPad was first introduced so many pundits explained what a niche product this tablet would be as it didn't possess a way to create content - in volume anyway. This of course was a huge surprise to me because I did immediately create blog entries and articles on the device. After a while I did feel pain in my fingers from repeatedly hitting the glass surface, in-part, this is the reason I looked for solutions to my problem. Touchfire was a Kickstarter project I backed and covered - once to introduce it to my readers and another to discuss how long it took to actually get the product.

Google, YouTube, Apple and Beats: Music Options Galore

March 6, 2013

There is good and bad news for Pandora today. The streaming radio leader has for the first time found itself in a position to compete for radio advertisers on an equal footing thanks to its inclusion in an influential ratings network run by Strata Marketing. The potential in the streaming radio market has brought new competition.

It's worth noting the news recently broke that Apple has held talks with Beats Electronics LLC about collaboration and/or investment in a music service called Daisy – apparently these talks go back a decade but Steve Jobs wasn’t ready to act when they began. Although Apple hasn’t been announced as an investor in the deal, Daisy has just secured $50M from a group including Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik, Fort Worth billionaire Lee M. Bass, and Australian financier James Packer.

Aruba Networks Shows WiFi Can Boost Retail Traffic

March 5, 2013

Aruba Networks had a few interesting announcements recently at Mobile World Congress 2013 and the first one shows how WiFi can be used as a differentiator and driver of retail traffic. In a deployment with NTT Broadband Platform or NTTBP the companies proudly unveiled the fact they are deploying a joint WIFi solution named Wi-Fi Cloud Services and its being deployed at over 10,000 Seven-Eleven locations as well as other retail locations owned by the mutual parent company in Japan.

This is important because the service includes an offering to consumers which allows them to come to the stores and download and stream music and other content. In this way the WiFi network supports a marketing initiative which makes the stores in-effect more "sticky."

As the content is the "hook" so to speak, it is imperative the quality of the network is up to par.

Apple's Magic Dependent on iWatch Success?

March 5, 2013

At this point we are all aware Apple has a new watch in the works and it is even thought to be released later this year. Pundits have even determined this product could be vastly more profitable for Cupertino than even the much-anticipated Apple TV. They call it a $6B opportunity!

One wonders however how different this product will be from the iPhone.

Smith Micro Extends MDM Standard to Chipset Level

February 28, 2013

Smith Micro's main message at Mobile World Congress 2013 was that wirelss broadband connectivity is going to become easier. Carla Fitzgerald, VP Marketing Wireless & Mobility explained how the company has worked with chipset vendors to get its QuickLink MBIM Middleware installed at the chip level in various computer systems.

She said, "Connectivity originally started as an application where the user was once forced to be an IT administrator." She continued, "But now with standards like MBIM and Smith Micro working with chipset vendors, connectivity will be automatic regardless of operating system."

The benfits for users will be the ability to have backward and forward compatability across not only operating system versions but operating systems as well meaning you could take a USB stick modem and seamlessly have it work regardless of your system. Currently the middleware supports just about anything you would want to use such as Windows 7, Vista, XP, Mac OSX and Linux.

Tangoe Integrates MDM and TEM

February 27, 2013

At Mobile World Congress 2013 Tangoe was discussing the company's integrated solutions which combine TEM and MDM allowing telecom expense management and mobile device management to be handled with a single sign-on and user interface. As Director of Product Marketing Troy Fulton (pictured) explained to me, with 4G networks, bill shock can be quite real as you can be roaming and rapidly go way over your allotment of data.

The companies rTEM solutions can deal with such a scenario in ten minutes he says. Moreover, Tangoe realizes devices have valuable information on them - in fact many large enterprises spend 57% of their IT budgets on mobility, making it quite strategic says Fulton.

Altair Semiconductor's 4G Chip Bet Pays Off

February 26, 2013

As wireless markets globally move to 4G, Altair Semiconductor has targeted this newer network standard with a single-mode line of chips which cost less and use less power than mult-mode solutions which have to grapple with 3G and older standards. As consumer electronics devices become more price-competitive, choosing a streamlined solution means OEMs/ODMs can reduce their costs and pass part of the savings on to customers allowing more inexpensive solutions to be marketed.

The big news for the company at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona was the release of a new chipset for LTE-A, the 3800/6300 FourGee line which can download at 150Mbps and upload at 50 Mbps. The chips support carrier aggregation and a wide frequency band span of 400-3800MHz with 6 concurrent LTE bands for both primary and diversity antennas, enabling global band combinations. There is further support for VoLTE and HD-voice as well as interference cancellation an peripheral interface support for a wide variety of applications from consumer electronics to M2M.

The company hopes it becomes the go to source for connectivity in an "internet of things" world and spokesman Matthew Krieger (pictured) brimmed with excitement about how their solutions are replacing competitors in the market.

MWC 2013 Day One Trends

February 26, 2013

After a day of meetings there are some strong takeaways from the first day of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Interestingly devices played a large and yet small factor in my analysis. First off The Sony Xperia Z tablet was shown off here but crowds were lackluster. In examining the device I was amazed at how thin and light it was - it seemed like a larger iPad Mini in terms of weight and the feeling in the hands.

Thank You Amazon, Retailers May Now Merge at Will

February 18, 2013


When reports surfaced regarding Office Depot merging with OfficeMax, the first thing which may have occurred to many, is regulators wouldn’t let this approximately $2 billion happen because the resulting store would be too large and create antitrust concerns. Much of these worries in retail however have decreased as of late because of the strength of Wal-Mart, Costco and of course Amazon. Let’s also remember that Staples is a major player in the space. It’s worth pointing out that Amazon in particular can be used by just about all retailers to justify industry consolidation.


The Offspring of Siri and Raspberry Pi Controls Your Home

February 15, 2013

For those of you dreaming of the day when your voice can control your home, your wait is over – almost. There are a few demos floating around online showing how Siri’s responses to your commands can trigger the Raspberry Pi-based SiriProxy. The first demo below runs a garage door opener, a NEST thermostat and a cable box while the second video just opens and closes a garage door opener for now.

As Apple and investors took for the next big thing, it seems like home automation is a natural extension for the company. Ironically I tweeted an article today about NEST trying to get into the home automation space too which means the company may eventually be on a collision course with Apple.

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