Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Mobile Phones

Mobile Phones, cell phones

Verizon MiFi 4510L 4G WiFi Mobile Hotspot Now Available

April 18, 2011

Say goodbye to your pokey 3G MiFi. Verizon Wireless and Novatel Wireless today announced that the MiFi 4510L 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot that runs on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network is available online today. The 4G LTE MiFi 4510L is available online at and will be in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores on April 21 for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement on a 4G Mobile Broadband plan. 4G LTE Mobile Broadband plans begin at $50 monthly access for 5GB.
The MiFi 4510L lets you share the connection with up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices simultaneously. I was hoping they'd increase the number of device to ten by now.

The HTML5 Revolution

April 14, 2011

When Steve Jobs and Apple blocked Adobe Flash from Apple's popular line of mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch), Apple's main claims against Flash were that it was too processor-heavy, a battery hog, and that HTML5 was a better standard for the future. Rich Tehrani calls it the "Apple Tax". According to the HTTP Archive project, a website that tracks over 17,000 top websites and lets you compare web statistics over time, Flash experienced a 2% drop in usage over the last 4 months. It went from 49% on November 15, 2010 to 47% on March 29, 2011.

The move to HTML5 is clearly on.

Google Store Launch? Look out Apple Stores?

April 7, 2011

Rich Tehrani gives his reasons why Google needs to launch what I'll call "Google Store", a direct retail competitor to the Apple Stores located in many malls and cities around the country. Only one problem with this is that Google only sells Android products to consumers. Apple stores sell a variety of products including laptops, tablets, computers, iPods, iPod/iPhone accessories, Mac software, etc.

Google only sells tablets and Android mobile phones. Their software is mostly hosted, including Gmail, Google Apps, etc.

fring Group Video Calls for iPhone and Android!

April 5, 2011

Whoah! fring today announced that their development team is finishing up on a really cool new feature - free group video calls that works on both the Android and the iPhone.

As far as I know this is the first free Group Video call feature for any mobile phone.

Google Offers $900 million for 6,000 Nortel telecom patents

April 4, 2011

Nortel's carcass continues to be picked at, with many golden nuggets discovered, making their demise all the more surprising.
Google is offering $900 million for 6,000 Nortel telecom patents covering 4G, wireless, data networking, optical, voice, semiconductors and other telecom areas, according to ZDNet.

Here's Google's official response:
The tech world has recently seen an explosion in patent litigation, often involving low-quality software patents, which threatens to stifle innovation. Some of these lawsuits have been filed by people or companies that have never actually created anything; others are motivated by a desire to block competing products or profit from the success of a rival’s new technology. The patent system should reward those who create the most useful innovations for society, not those who stake bogus claims or file dubious lawsuits. It's for these reasons that Google has long argued in favor of real patent reform, which we believe will benefit users and the U.S.

Apple Releases iOS 4.3.1 Fixes Bugs But Annoying the Hell Out of Me

March 25, 2011

Apple just released iOS 4.3.1 today for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad that includes some bug fixes and no major improvements. One bug fix fixes image flicker when connecting the new Digital AV Adapter to televisions. According to Apple, this update:

  1. Fixes an occasional graphics glitch on the 4th generation iPod touch
  2. Resolves bugs relating to activating and connecting to some cellular networks
  3. Fixes image flicker when using Apple Digital AV Adapter with some TVs
  4. Resolves an issue authenticating with some enterprise web services

What's most annoying about all these new updates is I have to re-jailbreak my phone and hope/wait for a new jailbreak utility. I have wonder if Apple will intentionally start issuing more releases with "bug" fixes that also plug the current jailbreak exploits.

Japan Earthquake Devastates Global Chip Production

March 21, 2011

The Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor problems have had a devastating effect not just on people's live and property, but also the Japanese semiconductor industry which accounts for 25% of the global supply of silicon wafer. This will affect pricing on everything from PCs to smartphones to gadgets. Not good. Check out the news with additional information after the jump...

Apple Mafia wants 30% Cut of App Subscriptions

February 16, 2011

Apple plans to take a 30% cut of all subscriptions on the iPhone & iPad. According to Techcrunch, Steve Jobs explained:
“Our philosophy is simple—when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing. All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app. We believe that this innovative subscription service will provide publishers with a brand new opportunity to expand digital access to their content onto the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, delighting both new and existing subscribers.”
This is a game changer! Will taking a 30% cut of 3rd party subscriptions cause a mass exodus of developers to Google Android?

Asterisk + OpenBTS = Be Your Own Wireless Carrier

February 14, 2011

OpenBTS (Open Base Transceiver Station) is a free softare implementation of the GSP protocol allowing the creation of software-based GSM access points that enable standard GSM mobile phones to make phone calls without using traditional wireless providers' networks. In other words, create your own homebrew cellular network!

According to the OpenBTS Project, OpenBTS is an open-source Unix application that uses the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) to present a GSM air interface ("Um") to standard GSM handset and uses Asterisk software to connect calls leveraging SIP and VoIP.

The goal of the project is to reduce the cost of GSM service provision in rural areas and the developing world. They explain, "In plain language, we are working on a new kind of cellular network that can be installed and operated at about 1/10 the cost of current technologies, but that will still be compatible with most of the handsets that are already in the market. This technology can also be used in private network applications (wireless PBX, rapid deployment, etc.) at much lower cost and complexity than conventional cellular."

During the past few Burning Man festivals, OpenBTS has performed a week-long live field test under special temporary WE9XJN authorization to use certain wireless frequencies.

Former FCC Chief Kevin Martin to Keynote ITEXPO

January 20, 2011

Former FCC Chief Kevin Martin will be a keynote speaker at ITEXPO taking place February 2-4th in Miami, Florida.

Some background on Kevin Martin. In a resignation statement on his philosophy at the FCC he stated it "has been to pursue deregulation while paying close attention to its impact on consumers and the particulars of a given market, to balance deregulation with consumer protection." Martin added that he "approached his decisions with a fundamental belief that a robust, competitive marketplace, not regulation, is ultimately the best protector of the public interest and the best method of delivering the benefits of choice, innovation and affordability to American consumers."

The statement also included what Martin accomplished during his tenure, including one promoting broadband, and specifically wireless broadband, and protecting consumers from harm, by issuing $150 million in fines, or more than any other chairman. On January 15, 2009 Kevin Martin announced his resignation when the Obama Administration took over. In his letter of resignation to President Bush, Martin wrote, “I have had the privilege of serving at the Federal Communications Commission for almost 8 years, including 4 years as the agency’s Chairman. 

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