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Rich Tehrani
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Skype, the Carrier's Friend?

June 10, 2011



There are people who believe the Microsoft acquisition of Skype will make Redmond's relationship with carriers much worse but the leading internet telephony software company has been making steady progress wooing carriers. Years back at the CTIA show in Las Vegas, Chaim Haas, one of Skype's PR representatives told me the Three UK deal between his client and Skype was working out well for the carrier and moreover, the company was hoping other carriers would partner as well.

Then more recently Verizon Wireless struck a solid relationship with Skype and now, TMC's Paula Bernier breaks the story of how Canada's Telus too has partnered with Skype to among other things champion usage of the VoIP company's network and services.

Perhaps the Skype acquisition isn't all bad news for Microsoft's carrier relationships. In fact it may even do the opposite of what many pundits tell us - help Microsoft get more entrenched in carrier networks.

And certainly when you are the new underdog in the mobile world, any advantage like this one can come in handy when competing with Apple, RIM and Google.







HTML5 Shines on New FT App

June 10, 2011


According to Ed Silverstein on TMCnet's sister site TechZone360, The Financial Times recently released a web app at app.ft.com based on HTML5 and in doing so has shown the Splinternet may be reversing course. As you may recall, I coined the term Splinternet in 2008 to describe the splintering of app environments on the web. Programmers currently utilize so much overhead to program for various environments that they take precious resources from differentiating their apps. The scenario is reminiscent of the hundreds or thousands of printer drivers developers had to provide with their software before Windows became popular and handled this task for the development community.


CradlePoint Wireless N 4G CTR35 Impresses

June 6, 2011


CTO and founder of CradlePoint Gary Oliverio just sent me the company's CTR35 - wireless N portable router allowing you to plug in a USB dongle and light up a room with WiFi - where up to 16 devices can share a wireless broadband connection. And the great news is this gadget can now share a 4G connection.

I tested it with a Verizon 3G EVDO card and was able to achieve average download speeds of 1.9 Mbps downloads and 500 kbps uploads which is respectable considering I did the tests from TMC's HQ where 3G coverage isn't generally super-strong.

The router supports devices from AT&T, Bell Canada, Clearwire,
icket, Rogers, Rover, Sprint, T-Mobile, Telus, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless (Alltel), & Virgin Mobile and claims its range is about 350 feet - for WiFi. I did test the range inside of TMC's headquarters and got to about 100 feet of dense metal and electronics and found the signal started to drop dramatically. This is in line with all other WiFi APs I have seen - more or less so I would say the range of this device is comparable to any other generic AP out there and all this with a small size - about the same as two iPhones stacked. So basically - 350 feet of open air range is well within within reason based on my tests.

The device allows you to have dual SSIDs - in case you want to share a second one with guests and it has bulletproof installation - you plug it in and it works.







Flash Support May Be Apple's Only Weak Spot

May 23, 2011

I’ve got two kids and for privacy reasons we will call them X, age seven and Y, age six. For their last birthday X received a netbook and I noticed over the last eight months or so – it was rarely used while an iPod, a Nintendo DSi and my iPad were. So partly because I was sick of lending my iPad to the kids constantly and because I saw just how much use iOS devices were getting in my house – I lobbied the grandparents to not get another netbook but instead get the youngest child “Y” an iPad.

Y didn’t want an iPad – only because you couldn’t play some Flash-based game on it.

Family Plans Coming to Verizon

May 23, 2011

It took about six months for carriers to respond to my suggestion - and many families will be happy they did.


Back in December I wrote about the need for carriers to offer group data plans - especially for families. Specifically I said:

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. In this way they get consumers to ante up a bit more - let's say for example $10-$20/month per device for dedicated 3G.


Today, I noticed on TMCnet's sister information technology site (I am the CEO of global media company TMC) TechZone360 an article about how Verizon will offer family plans in the future.






BlackBerry PlayBook First Thoughts

May 19, 2011

In my review of the BlackBerry PlayBook I must say I am impressed with the device - it is small - not too heavy, feels good in your hands and runs Flash like a champ. The back of the device is rubberized which holds the promise of increased durability and a large degree of scratch-resistance. TMCnet's Stefanie Mosca has more thoughts on the device and as a BlackBerry user it was certainly more functional for her. She also thinks it is an ideal device for traveling which is tough to disagree with - it likely even fits in most purses.

Should Carriers Charge Less for Pipes to Get More For Services?

May 17, 2011

Bin Laden's Death, Mobile and Social

May 2, 2011

In the wake of bin Laden's death it is worth reflecting on how consumers learned about the incident which was first live reported by Sohaib Athar - an unsuspecting bin Laden neighbor who tweeted the fact that he heard a helicopter and a subsequent window-shaking bang - a rare event as he called it.



Later, a commenter @naqvi on Twitter made the connection to these events and the Obama press conference which confirmed what had happened.

Of course later - the hard news and analysis did come from the mainstream media (MSM) - with lots of commentary from the social world. GigaOm has thoughts on how social and the MSM are connected.

What is most interesting to me however is the cheering which took place at a baseball stadium when the crown learned about the bin Laden news - specifically there was TV coverage of how people in the crowd were scanning their cell phones for the news and sharing it with others in the crowd. The video below gives you a small idea of other coverage I have seen.

The concept of news circulating via social faster than TV is not something we haven't discussed before - but this this stadium example of a large group learning about an important event via people at the center of informal social circle shows you how news dissemination and the web has evolved over the years.











China Patent Wars: Huawei Sues ZTE

April 28, 2011



Huawei today filed lawsuits in Germany, France, and Hungary against ZTE a fellow Chinese manufacturer of telecom equipment - with strength in 4G/LTE technology among others. The interesting point here is the company is being sued for patent and trademark infringement and what this shows us is a greater concern for patents and trademarks in China. At least from Huawei.

According to the company, they paid US $222 million themselves in patent licensing fees to obtain the legal right to use patents and technologies of other companies in the industry. In fact TMCnet reported two weeks ago that Huawei and Motorola Solutions settled patent disputes.

This is great news as Huawei had a reputation years back for copying technology from companies like Cisco and after losing a  court case they seem to have become more serious about patents and trademarks.

Last month I pointed out how a sales boom for tech and media is being unleashed by China as a result of it announcing 3,001 people have been arrested for rampant product piracy and seized fake or counterfeit medicines, liquor, mobile phones and other goods.

This is all great news for western companies who have invented technology which China wants to and will continue to use.









Amazon EC2 Outage: What The Experts Tell Us

April 27, 2011

The recent Amazon outage of its EC2 service affected a number of leading-edge companies who in some cases used the fact that they housed little to no infrastructure on their premise as a selling point to investors. Certainly, the cloud computing market is in what we could call a post-evangelism phase where there seems to be universal agreement that the cloud has a role in most organizations – at least to help with some tasks – if not all. We know the concept of hosted solutions isn’t new – many companies outsource payroll for example or tax preparation.

But certainly, when the largest company providing cloud infrastructure has a major outage of one of its availability zones lasting days,  it’s time to sit back and reflect on the challenges of moving wholesale to the cloud without thinking the concept fully through.

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