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

November 2006

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ABI Predicts Wibree Growth, If...

November 30, 2006

Yesterday in this blog, I wrote about the differences and similarities between established wireless standard Bluetooth and new-kid-on-the-block Wibree. Talk about good timing—guess what landed in my mailbox today? A report from ABI Research regarding the future of, you guessed it, Wibree.

Specifically, ABI is predicting that the market for Wibree products could be worth $513 million by 2011—if certain things happen.

Will Wibree Unseat the Bluetooth King?

November 29, 2006

A reader of this blog recently e-mailed me to ask what I know about the differences between Bluetooth and Wibree. I had to admit to myself that I really didn’t understand the differences and similarities much better than my reader. So I set out to educate myself.

First stop was Wikipedia, where I uncovered the follow definitions for the two technologies.

In-Stat: WiMAX Set for Growth, But Still Faces Challenges

November 28, 2006

So much news has been generated lately about WiFi that sometimes it seems as if the world has forgotten that technology’s younger, more powerful sibling, WiMAX.

But, market research firm In-Stat hasn’t forgotten. In a recent report, the firm predicted some significant growth in worldwide subscribers to WiMAX-based broadband.

In-Stat said it expects 2006 to yield 222,000 WiMAX subscribers, and that number should grow to 19.7 million by the end of 2010.

In-Stat: WiMAX Set for Growth, But Still Faces Challenges

November 28, 2006

So much news has been generated lately about WiFi that sometimes it seems as if the world has forgotten that technology’s younger, more powerful sibling, WiMAX.

But, market research firm In-Stat hasn’t forgotten. In a recent report, the firm predicted some significant growth in worldwide subscribers to WiMAX-based broadband.

In-Stat said it expects 2006 to yield 222,000 WiMAX subscribers, and that number should grow to 19.7 million by the end of 2010.

Fix a PDA Yourself

November 27, 2006

Well, Thanksgiving is over. You know what that means. If you’re someone who celebrates Christmas, it’s time to get started on your holiday shopping in earnest. And, if you’re a tech geek like me, you probably have at least a few gadgets on your list—to buy for friends and family, or that you are hoping they’ll buy for you.

More Than Half of Americans Still Using Dial-Up Internet Connections

November 22, 2006

If you’re a person who recalls not-so-fondly the days of dial-up Internet connections—when you’d start a download or begin checking your mail and then go off to do something else while the process took place—count yourself lucky.

It turns out that as few as 28 percent of American households today have access to broadband Internet. That’s according to reporter Richard Hoffman in a Nov. 20, 2006 Information Week article, citing data from Government Accountability Office.

Hoffman notes that The Pew Internet & American Life Project puts the number of American adults using broadband at 42 percent.

In-Flight Phone Service Coming to Emirates Airline Next Year?

November 21, 2006

If you’re planning to fly to Dubai next year on an Emirates Airline flight, keep your eyes and ears peeled for details about a new on-flight mobile phone service offered by AeroMobile (a joint venture between communications vendor Arinc and Norway-based telecom service providers Telenor).

A report (;1267221105;fp;4194304;fpid;1)earlier this month noted an announcement from Emirates Airline regarding plans to deploy the mobile phone service on one of its Boeing 777 planes early in 2007, assuming it can get necessary approval.

On-board phone service hasn’t been that successful to date. Boeing previously tried to get  an Internet access service called Connexion off the ground, but phased it out in August after failing to find a buyer.

Nielsen Study: iPod Video Less Popular Than Expected

November 20, 2006

Apple’s line of iPod MP3 players have dominated the market for a while now. But a preliminary study Nielson Media Research may indicate that by turning its device into a media player (iPod Video) for TV and movies as well as music, Apple may have overextended its reach.

A Reuters report I came across this morning said that data Nielsen has gathered so far show that “despite iPod's upgrade to video capabilities in October 2005, the device is still

mainly used as an audio device.”

That conclusion was reached from various findings, including this one: only 2.2 percent of items played on an iPod Video actually are videos.

Apple iPhone Rumors Return With a Vengeance

November 17, 2006

Well, the Apple iPhone rumors are back. This time, word has it that Taiwan-based manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry (also known as Foxconn Electronics) received an order from Apple for 12 million iPhones. That’s the same company, InfoWorld says, that builds Apple’s iPod.

According to AppleInsider, the new iPhone rumors started with a report published Thursday in China Times.

Coming in 2007: Wireless Internet in Seoul's Subways

November 16, 2006

I thought this was kind of interesting when I saw it: WiMAX day reports that the subway operating company in Seoul, South Korea—Seoul Metro—is planning to begin installation of wireless Internet access in its underground trains next year.

The service will be provided by KT, using WiBro technology. Access will be available in some trains and stations this coming January, with coverage of the entire system by end of 2007.

The English version of notes that the WiBro installation is a sidebar to Seoul Metro’s $439 million project replacing hundreds of aging subway trains, slated to be complete by 2009.

Firetide Selected to Help Build Singapore’s WiFi Network

November 15, 2006

Yesterday, a spokesperson from wireless mesh technology manufacturer Firetide called to let me know that the company has been selected to build part of Singapore’s nationwide WiFi network.

I thought the story was rather interesting, since most WiFi projects involve a particular city, not an entire country. (Granted, it’s not a very big country; CIA World Factbook describes the island nation as being “slightly more than 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC.”) Here are the details.

In partnership with iCell Network, Firetide will be building the eastern portion of Singapore’s WiFi network.

Boost Mobile and loopt Launch Mobile Location-Based Service

November 14, 2006

Last week I wrote an article about a new location-based service from Helio that lets friends find out the location of their nearby friends using a mobile phone.

Apparently, this type of service is becoming more popular, especially for younger mobile phone users; today an announcement landed on my desk about a similar service being launched by Boost Mobile (a Sprint Nextel brand) and loopt (a social mapping service startup in Palo Alto, CA).

The service, Boost loopt (try saying that ten times fast), “leverages the only 100 percent GPS-enabled wireless network to automatically update the location of everyone in a private network of Boost customers and displays that information directly on a map on the phone,” the companies said in a press release.

In a statement, Boost Mobile’s Director of Value Added Services, said: “Fourteen to 25-year-olds are committed to their social circles and constantly want to know where their friends ‘are at.’ They also comprise the majority of Boost Mobile’s customer base. 

The Skeptic Questions Interactive Mobile TV and Cell Phones as Mini Computers

November 13, 2006

A couple of items caught my eye this morning, both of which relate to the ways in which mobile technology is changing the way we live, work, and play. One is a study commissioned by Nokia, the other is a news story citing Samsung’s predictions about the future of mobile phones.

I take these news items, by the way, with a grain of salt, since in both cases the info is being provided by companies that make the technology in question—and thus have an obvious stake in the matter.

First up is a study Nokia commissioned from London School of Economics, about the impact of mobile television, specifically on the broadcasting and advertising industries.

Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs): Hazardous To Your Health

November 10, 2006

Turns out that PDAs can be hazardous to your health. Who knew?

USA Today reporter Stephanie Armour wrote in an article today that, increasingly, companies are facing workers’ compensation claims from employees claiming they were injured by PDAs.

WiFi for Cheaper, Better, Easier International Calls?

November 9, 2006

In a recent blog entry, I wrote about T-Mobile’s dual-mode (WiFi/Cellular) service being rolled out in Seattle. In the entry, I posed the question: “are consumers actually interested in dual-mode services?”

A definite “yes” answer came from a reader who asked to be identified as Levi from Nairobi, Kenya, who is attending graduate school in the U.S. and wants a cheaper way to communicate with friends and family back home.

Driving While Talking on a Cell Phone: A Contentious Issue

November 8, 2006

Have you ever talked on your cell phone while driving? C’mon, be honest—we’ve all done it. And, at least some people are pretty opinionated about their right to talk and drive, as North Carolina-based Triangle Business Journal learned recently when it conducted a poll on this very topic.

The poll asked, “Do you think North Carolina motorists should be allowed to use their cell phones while driving?”

Samsung Promotes Mobile WiMAX with SPH-P9000 MIT Device

November 7, 2006

It often seems to be the case that the latest and coolest wireless devices become available first in Asia, and eventually make their way to Europe and the U.S. Hopefully for us geeks, that will be the case with Samsung’s latest gadget, the WiMAX-enabled SPH-P9000 (or more affectionately referred to by Samsung as “MIT” for “Mobile Intelligent Terminal), which is a combination cell phone, MP3 player, and PDA with built-in QWERTY keyboard.

The device was unveiled today at Mobile WiMAX Summit in Seoul, South Korea.

Yes to WiFi in Singapore, No to WiMAX in Germany

November 6, 2006

Talk about vision. The government in Singapore this past summer announced a ten-year “digital future” plan (Singapore iN2015) to make the country number one in the world in terms of adding value to the economy and society using what it calls “infocomm” technologies.

InformationWeek, in its September 4, 2006 edition, reported that one of the iN2015 goals, to have connect at least 90 percent of homes up with broadband, is being pursued in conjunction with the efforts of service provider SingTel.

More specifically, the InformationWeek report notes that SingTel hopes to make nationwide WiFi a reality in Singapore by year’s end.

WiMAX Network in Chennai, India

November 3, 2006

India’s telecommunications and electrical infrastructures, two arguably key elements necessary for technological advancements, leave something to be desired. By some estimates, for example, annual investment of $20 billion is needed to bring the country’s electrical grid up to snuff to meet yearly demand increases of about seven percent.

But, the country is pushing ahead into the twenty-first century despite the obstacles. Red Herring reported in its Oct. 30 edition that Aircel Business Solutions has committed as much as $100 million to build a WiMAX network in the southern city of Chennai.

Kelton Research: Home WiFi More Important Than Starbucks Coffee

November 2, 2006

In a recent survey of 549 American age 18 and up, Kelton Research found that access to broadband, wireless Internet in the home is more important than a cup of Starbucks coffee every day.

Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they would rather give up Starbucks for a year than go without WiFi.

The importance of WiFi was reflected in answers to two other questions Kelton asked. When asked what would be worse, having WiFi go down for the weekend or having a favorite sports team lose the big game, 81 percent thought losing WiFi would be worst, while only 19 percent ranked sports more important.

Symbol Technologies Bridges Various Radio Frequencies with RFS700 Switch

November 1, 2006

Symbol Technologies, a company that specializes in enterprise mobility solutions, announced today what it says is the first ever radio frequency (RF) wireless switch (RFS7000) capable of bridging all RF technologies—including RFID, 802.11n, mesh, voice over wireless LAN (VoWLAN) and WiMAX.

In its announcement about RFS7000, Symbol said the switch “is designed to support and consolidate Wi-Fi and emerging RF technologies,” enabling businesses to “efficiently and cost-effectively deploy and centrally manage wireless voice, data and infrastructure devices throughout the RF spectrum.”

In an article today, Laptop Magazine reporter Jeffrey Wilson noted that the RFS7000 supports up to two-hundred and fifty-six 802.11a/b/g access port, and enables Layer 3 roaming, “which allows mobile users to maintain a connection to high-bandwidth applications as they roam.”

Here is an image of the unassuming-looking RFS7000, courtesy of