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3G and 4G Group Data Plans Needed

December 20, 2010

I am beginning to change my tune on the embedded cellular radio vs. the external MiFi device debate. Does it make sense to purchase a tablet with embedded 3G or 4G or is it better to go with an external 3G/4G device which becomes a personal hotspot?

To date I have decided that my laptop should have embedded Verizon 3G via EVDO while the iPad - embedded AT&T 3G.

But if you have a family and your kids need (OK need is a strong word - desire is probably more appropriate) connectivity, should you embed their devices with 3G modems as well?

Obviously the bill can get pretty big pretty fast and if you have kids who only occasionally need wireless access when WiFi isn't available it is crazy to sign a multi-year contract for $40 or more per month. Sure you could get a cheaper plan but if you opt for an iPhone instead an iPod Touch to take advantage of a wireless carrier's larger 3G wireless footprint you have to buy a voice plan as well which starts at $39.99/month - then of course you'll want to add a text message plan, etc.

This is why I read with interest the news that Best Buy is selling a bundle of an iPad with a free MiFi with a 2-year contract.

When you amortize the use of this free device across all your family's gadgets such as the Nintendo DS, iPod Touch and future products you know you'll buy, it seems to make sense to have one.

But one wonders if carriers aren't doing themselves a long-term disservice by not coming up with some sort of group or family plan for devices.











Callvine Simplifies Mobile Conferencing

December 19, 2010

Yesterday I was at a party where one of the guests was telling me about her job managing real estate for her family. I inquired about where her office is and she held up her cell phone and said my car is my office. This conversation reminded me about a recent conversation with Callvine Founder and COO Mark Dzwonczyk who tells me his company has found the secret ingredient to take conferencing to the mobile professional. After a couple of years of work, the company has an app which I tried on an iPhone (iTunes preview) allowing you to quickly set up groups which you can use to SMS and conference.

MagicTalk and MagicJack Plus Coming Soon

December 14, 2010

I’ve followed the IP communications business for well over a decade and in 1997 my company TMC decided to launch a publication called Internet Telephony to focus on what we believed would be a massive trend towards IP communications. At first we were ridiculed because there was a point in time when the technology was seen as a replacement for Ham radio only. It took some years but the industry caught fire and saw incredible innovation – even a bubble or two grew and exploded on the way to where we are today.

And as amazing as the market has been for 12 years or so, we didn’t see VoIP-on-a-stick become ultra-popular until a few years ago.

Grandstream GXV3175 a Solid IP Multimedia Value

December 14, 2010

Grandstream's Khris Kendrick discusses the GXV3175 as well as the company's other products such as a new cube camera

Grandstream has just released the GXV3175, a multimedia phone which features HD voice and video with the ability to connect the output of the video conference to an HDTV. Moreover, the Linux-based desk phone which sports an easy to use seven-inch touch-screen interface supports widgets for checking things like the weather or stock quotes.



There is support for  IM from Google, MSN and Yahoo! as well as social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Another great feature is integration with Photobucket and Flickr and other photo sharing services. This phone could very well replace a Sony Dash on a desktop as it not only does much of what that device does but adds real-time multimedia communications.



There are lots of other features including a 1.3 megapixel CMOS camera with privacy shutter as well as dual USB ports, integrated PoE, WiFi and memory card support.









The Internet Lubricates Protests

December 13, 2010

We have seen how the Internet has changed the telephony business allowing voice and now video conversations to be transmitted as packets. This simple change made Internet voice and video calls free. In addition, we have seen how email has helped drive the US Post Office more quickly into the red.

E-commerce has made it possible to buy virtually anything at prices which are a fraction of what they would have been a decade and a half ago.

Finally Headsets Get Smart

December 10, 2010

You get a call, you pick up the headset and put it on your ear and then turn on the headset to connect the call.

One of these steps is not needed.

The Apple iPhone popularized the motion sensor/accelerometer and Sonos uses this technology to keep its remote control powered down until it is picked up.

Now headsets can join the motion sensing party and the latest one from Plantronics, the Voyager UC Pro which ships early next year will acknowledge the fact you have picked it up by switching the call to the device.

What could be better than a world filled with smarter devices, making our lives easier? Thanks Plantronics... This is a really good idea.

TMC broke the story earlier today for more on this new bluetooth headset.









FTC Do Not Track = Unintended Consequences?

December 3, 2010

NSN Boosts Apple Performance with iOS 4.2

November 30, 2010

Has mobile phone signaling been reborn?


A smart move by Nokia Siemens networks was to upgrade its network equipment so that mobile devices can have faster data access while increasing battery life and decreasing network bandwidth use. Apparently Nokia mobile phones and Apple phones with iOS 4.2 software are able to leverage this new way of working to make their devices better.

In one case, as a result of this upgrade, NSN claims an operator has found mobile devices have almost double the battery life. In another, a carrier was found to have up to half the signaling traffic!

These are important steps in the right direction and I am interested in learning whether there is increased or decreased value for heavy data users as opposed to light users. Moreover, is music streaming which is constant assisted more by this technology than web surfing and/or app usage?

The move on the part of NSN is a very good one and now that handset makers have bought in (well it isn't a surprise than Nokia did) I hope to see more collaboration between NEMs and handset providers to enable even more benefits for end-users and carriers.








Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Impresses

November 14, 2010

TMC’s Tom Keating reported the fact that Microsoft OCS will be called Lync going forward and the name is much more conducive as a Skype alternative as asking someone to Lync you sounds much better than asking them to OCS you. Tom and I recently went to Manhattan with a group of analysts and other media to get a demo of the system at Microsoft's Technology center and put it through its paces. We had a chance to see about a dozen or more machines with various endpoints and spent time listening to Jamie Stark the Senior Product Manager walk us through what this new release will do for customers.

A Technical Look at HD Mobile VoIP

November 14, 2010

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