Mae : Wireless Mobility Blog
| News and views on everything wireless and mobile, from WiFi and WiMAX to 3G and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).

October 2006

You are browsing the archive for October 2006.

Cell Phone Waiting Lanes at Airports

October 31, 2006

The use of cell phones has changed society yet again. This time, the change took place at Detroit Metro Airport, where officials noticed that the pickup/dropoff lane for the L.C. Smith Terminal was getting crowded when vehicles idled at the curb waiting for passengers who were still in the airport somewhere.

To reduce the congestion, the airport created a “cell phone waiting lane” where cars can wait while the driver calls the person being picked up, arranges the exact pickup time, and then pulls up to the regular pickup/dropoff lane once the person is actually there and ready to hop into the vehicle.

Touchscreen Controls for Next Gen of iPods?

October 30, 2006

Rumors have been flying around the past few days that Apple’s next generation of iPods will use touchscreen based navigation instead of its iconic scroll-wheel.

The rumors are based on Apple’s Oct. 26 filing for a patent (20060238517) to protect an “Electronic Device Having Display and Surrounding Touch Sensitive Bezel for User Interface and Control.”

TG Daily blogger Mark Raby noted in an Oct. 27 post that this patent bears some similarities to another one (20060242114, “Method and apparatus for configuring a computer”) filed recently by Apple, apparently related to a possible tablet computer. But, the electronic device patent seems more geared to an iPod.

Local Weather Forecast for Dummies

October 27, 2006

If you find it too difficult to check the weather by using a website like, you could always look out the window. Or, even easier, you could simply glance at your Brookstone 5-Day Wireless Weather Forecaster, which displays weather data obtained by radio signal from AccuWeather.

Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated in any way with Brookstone or AccuWeather. I just think this is a cool gadget.

T-Mobile Launches Dual-Mode Service in Seattle

October 26, 2006

The big wireless news so far this week is T-Mobile’s launch of its dual-mode WiFi/Cellular service in Seattle.

TMCnet Associate Editor Patrick Barnard reported yesterday that the new service “lets T-Mobile’s subscribers make free phone calls using their at-home WiFi network or from any number of public WiFi hot spots which have been set up throughout the city. For now, only subscribers using the Nokia 6136 and the Samsung T709 dual mode phones can place free calls over WiFi.”

The new service uses Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) technology, which was developed by Kineto Wireless and is now part of 3rd Generation Partnership Project’s (3GPP) standards.

TNS Study: 3G Adoption Slowed by Cost, Lack of Understanding

October 25, 2006

Market research company TNS Global Technology Insights yesterday released information about a recent study it conducted regarding the use of 3G mobile phone services both in the U.S. and around the world.

Despite the fact that 3G enables “consumers to use their mobile phones more interactively and for a wider range of applications, including transmitting voice and data simultaneously,” these types of services are not being used by as many consumers as one might think, the report says.

In the U.S., TNS says in the report, 16 percent of mobile phone users own 3G-enabled handsets, but only 10 percent of those consumers actually make use of the enhanced features.

Happy Fifth Birthday, iPod! (And Many More?)

October 24, 2006

On Monday, the iPod celebrated its fifth birthday. To celebrate this momentous event,analysts and commentators over the past day or so have been opining about the success of Apple’s MP3 player.

A common theme among the iPod birthday stories I’ve been perusing this morning seems to be analysis of just exactly how and why Apple came to dominate the MP3 player market in such a relatively short amount of time. Lots of people, not least manufacturers like Microsoft (which plans to release its Zune MP3 player in time for Christmas) of competing products would love to crack the winning code.

RFID vs. WiFi for Hospital Inventory Tracking Systems

October 23, 2006

We’d all like to believe that the medical equipment found in hospitals is efficiently managed, so that if we need it, it’s readily available. But apparently, that’s not always the case.

In a new report out today, ABI Research says that, at any given moment, much of the expensive equipment owned by hospitals—everything from low-tech wheelchairs to high-tech machinery—is hard to find because it’s either already being used, or is in storage. The result is that hospitals tend to over-purchase this type of inventory, and then not utilize it efficiently.

Femtocells: New Kid on the Block for Dual-Mode Services

October 20, 2006

All week, a new report out from ABI Research about femtocell technology has been burning a hole in my pocket. Friday has arrived, so it’s time to comment or throw this into the “never got to it” pile.

In the report, ABI predicts that, by 2011, annual worldwide shipments of femtocell products will reach 19 million units. The research firm predicts that “Initial offerings are likely to be simple affairs that rely on Ethernet connections to existing ADSL gateways.”

Motorola Sued Over Hearing Loss Allegedly Caused by Bluetooth Headsets

October 19, 2006

Yesterday I got an e-mail from one David Fish, an attorney at The Collins Law Firm in Naperville, IL, alerting me to a new lawsuit against Motorola for allegedly manufacturing Bluetooth headsets that endanger the hearing of users.

Fish, who specializes in business, securities and tort litigation, described this lawsuit as “a very significant case---and if the facts turn out to true, a very important case.”

Curious, I decided to check it out. In an Oct. 18 post on his blog, Fish explained that the lawsuit (Alpert v.

D-Link Joins the 802.11n Crowd

October 18, 2006

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) hasn’t yet formally ratified its 802.11n wireless standard, but manufacturers already are planning or releasing products based on the draft specification. The latest to do so is D-Link, which today announced three new wireless devices based on draft 802.11n technology.

D-Link’s new products are the Link Xtreme N Gigabit Router, and two accompanying desktop and notebook adapters—DWA-552 and DWA-652. All three products, the company said in its press release, “are designed for consumers, small businesses and gamers who demand the highest performance possible from their wireless networks.”

Prudential Analyst: Apple to Intro iPhone in Early 2007

October 17, 2006

Rumors started flying yesterday about a possible “iPhone” from Apple after a post appeared on the Apple Insider blog citing information from Prudential Equity Group analyst Jesse Tortora, who said in a research note that Apple will begin offering two iPod-based cell phones during the first quarter of 2007.

According to the Apple Insider report, one of the phones will be a smart phone (with integrated keyboard, video and music capabilities) and the other will be a smaller phone with music functionality only. At least one of the phones, Tortora said, will include WiFi capabilities.

The new phones reportedly will be launched in small numbers at first as a market test.

In-Stat: 3G Users More Interested in Directions than Video

October 16, 2006

Sifting through various wireless-related news this morning, I came across a report from In-Stat dated Oct. 11 (I must have lost track of it among all the IT EXPO related news) in which the research firm discusses a recent survey it conducted that found users of 3G mobile phones are more interested in navigation applications than watching video.

In-Stat notes that the results of its survey are a surprise, since video has been touted for some time now as being the “killer application” for next-gen mobile services.

If the survey’s 1,000+ respondents do indeed represent reality, it means carriers and vendors have some quick legwork to perform—notably, In-Stat says, by expanding the availability of GPS and A-GPS-compatible handsets.

“Unfortunately, technology choices left over from the 1990s make this difficult but carriers and handset vendors are starting to provide an increasing flow of products that better meet the 3G customers’ needs,” In-Stat analyst David Chamberlain is quoted as saying in the report.

Analyst: FMC Won’t Catch on Until Carriers Upgrade Networks

October 11, 2006

Here is an interesting article about fixed-mobile convergence, by Computerworld Australia’s Darren Pauli, that appeared in the October 9 edition of Pauli predicts that, despite all the talk about dual-mode (WiFi/Cellular) telephone services and handsets, most companies will hold off another five years or more before jumping on board with the new technology.

The reason, Pauli says, is that “while FMC promises reduced call costs, access to multiple communication lines via one number and seamless network switching, the mobile technology behind it is dragging its feet.”

ABI Predictions for GPS in Cell Phones

October 10, 2006

One of the items waiting in my Inbox this morning was a new report from ABI Research, predicting that by the end of 2008, 25 percent of WCDMA handsets will include GPS capabilities.

The research firm gives four main reasons why it thinks its prediction is accurate:

  • Regulatory requirements are inducing vendors to include GPS in their products

  • Staying competitive may require adding GPS

  • GPS may be attractive to carriers looking for a way to increase ARPU and recoup costs associated with licensing 3G spectrum

T-Mobile to Launch Dual-Mode Handsets and Service

October 9, 2006

Last week, I blogged about D-Link’s launch of its new, dual-mode handset—the V-Click—and noted that the only other comparable product slated for availability soon is Paragon Wireless’ hip-2200. It appears I may have spoken too soon.

According to an Associated Press report that hit the wires Friday, by year’s end T-Mobile plans to launch its own dual-mode handset and companion service.

Samsung Survey Shows Cell Phone Etiquette Varies by Age, Region

October 6, 2006

One of the stories making the rounds on newswires today is a recent survey on cell phone etiquette, conducted by Kelton Research for Samsung Telecommunications America. The most notable aspect of the survey—which asked 1,000 U.S. teenagers and adults their opinion about various phone etiquette situations—is that what’s considered polite depends on what age group you’re in and where you live.

When asked, “Is it appropriate to answer or make a call on your cell phone in any of the following situations,” respondents gave answers summarized in the table below.

Cell Phones Worth Killing for in Africa

October 5, 2006

Here’s somewhat of an “off the beaten path” story that caught my eye this morning: four teenagers in Africa stabbed and killed a 52-year-old man (Quinin Boutel) while robbing him of his cellphone and taking the shoes from his girlfriend (Debra Fleishman).

According to a report on, the attack occurred in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. The teenagers (three girls and one boy) ranged in age from 13 to 14.

“The boy allegedly stabbed Boutel who died on the scene,” the report says. “The children then allegedly took Boutel's cellphone, and Fleisman's shoes.” Fleishman wasn’t hurt, and later identified the teens who were taken into custody and face court on Friday.

D-Link Intros V-Click Dual-Mode Handset

October 4, 2006

There’s been talk for quite some time about fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) and dual-mode handsets. Recently the potential of this new technology has finally begun to see the light of day in actual handsets and services available to consumers.

A case in point is D-Link’s introduction this week of a new, dual-mode (3G cellular/WiFi) handset: the V-Click. On the phone’s product page, D-Link explains users will be able to insert a SIM Smartcard or chip from their cellular provider into the handset to gain GSM access; a button allows users to switch back and forth from cellular to WiFi modes.

Nokia’s Wibree: The Next Bluetooth?

October 3, 2006

The wireless story of today so far seems to be Nokia’s introduction of a new short-range wireless technology, dubbed Wibree, a possible competitor to Bluetooth.

Nokia is promoting Wibree as an “open industry initiative” designed to enable wireless connectivity between small devices (including watches, wireless keyboards, and toys) while consuming less power than other radio technologies. The company also says the new technology will be interoperable with Bluetooth.

In a press release, Nokia explains about the new technology: “Wibree is implemented either as stand-alone chip or as Bluetooth-Wibree dual-mode chip.

A Few New Cell Phone Services

October 2, 2006

This morning, a quick scan of the news wires uncovered a few of the newer ways that twenty-first century cell phone manufacturers and service providers are making small, portable communications devices even more impossible to live without.

Personal trainerTrimble, a California-based company that specializes in “advanced positioning solutions” (think GPS), offers a service called AllSport GPS, described in a Mercury News article today as “an application that enables users to measure distance, time, speed and calories on their cell phones.” Those measurements can be uploaded to a Web site for later analysis or just to keep track of fitness progress. The service was released in August as part of the company’s Trimble Outdoors line and, is available on 10 Sprint phone models and on 17 Nextel phones.

Voter registration – If you live in Pennsylvania, you now can get started registering to vote by sending a text message on your cell phone. According to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today, voters can type in either “Pgh” or “Pa” and send it to the number 75444 to register. This brings up prompts to enter name and address, along with the option to have a completed registration form sent to the person’s residence.