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Consumer Electronics

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.

John Sculley Mesmerizes Audience at ITEXPO (Video)

February 11, 2013

Apple Has 2 Weeks to Fix its 6.1 iOS Update

February 10, 2013

How Steve Jobs Even Transformed Our Views on Management

February 9, 2013

Steve Jobs was such an amazing entrepreneur - even calling him the ultimate visionary doesn't seem to describe accurately how amazing he was at reinventing numerous business categories. Like so many creative visionaries, early in his career he lacked the political and people skills which many people believed were necessary to run a company effectively.

When he was "pushed out" of Apple it was seen as a normal incident - CEOs were pushed out of companies all the time as past Apple CEO John Sculley has said. In fact Scully spoke just over a week ago at StartUp Camp7 collocated with ITEXPO Miami 2013 and gave the inside scoop on many important events which transpired between him and Jobs over the years.

Verizon MiFi and Boingo Indispensable

February 8, 2013

Some time back Verizon Wireless sent me a MiFi device to test and I have used it as a long-term review unit and am blown away at how useful it has become. Recently at ITEXPO in Miami I was able to use it instead of hotel WiFi which often can cost $15/day. Moreover, there was one hotel I stayed at this past month where the position of the hotel meant 4G didn't work from any provider - and it turns out I paid through the nose for hotel WiFi. I happened to use three devices and I got charged for each one (almost daily) for seven days. I didn't notice that there was a per-device charge as typically this isn't the case at the hotels I use.

Although I didn't get charged $315, that is what I would have paid had I used each device each day and the hotel didn't take some of the charges off my bill.

Does This Hire Tell us The Future of Apple's TV?

February 8, 2013

There is speculation today that the hire of OLED expert James(Jueng-Gil) Lee by Apple shows the company is serious about developing its own TV. A real Apple TV with a screen is the rumor that never dies - analysts have predicted for some time that we will see one. Moreover the supply chain has hinted that one will eventually arrive as well.

The question worth asking is exactly how far along Apple is if this gentleman was just hired.

Belkin Buys Linksys from Cisco

January 24, 2013

In a continuation of Cisco exiting the consumer market, the networking giant has announced it has sold this division to competitor Belkin for an undisclosed amount. Belkin will continue to honor all valid warranties and will now own about 30% of the U.S. retail home and small business networking market.

Cisco has had many failures in the consumer market for an obvious reason.

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