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

January 2008

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MacBook Air: Heart or Head?

January 31, 2008

There has been time now for industry analysts to really take a good look at Apple’s new MacBook Air laptop computer. The initial infatuation with the world’s thinnest laptop has worn off, and some people are now willing to note its drawbacks as well as its advantages.   For example, BusinessWeek reporter Stephen Wildstrom said that MacBook Air “set off an intense struggle” between his heart and his head. On the heart side: this computer is really sexy, one might even say a work of art. It also crams more into a very slim package than probably seemed possible before Steve Jobs’ latest Macworld keynote.

700MHz Spectrum Auction Update: D Block Floundering

January 30, 2008

As of Tuesday, the FCC had conducted 12 rounds of bidding for sections of the 700MHz spectrum, over a span of four days. But one of the blocks up for bid isn’t garnering much interest among potential buyers, Reuters reported.   That is “Block D,” also known as the “public safety block” because it’s designated for use by police, firefighters and other public saftery officials, Reuters reported. So far there has only been one bid for this block—for $472 million, far below the FCC’s reserve price of $1.3 million.   If things don’t pick up soon for the D block, the FCC may be forced to modify its requirements for the spectrum and/or lower the price.

700MHz Auction: Will Google Rescue Open Access?

January 24, 2008

So, with the FCC’s 700MHz spectrum auction underway, the $4.6 billion question is: will Google come to the rescue of open access or not? If the company bids more than the $4.6 billion reserve (minimum) price specified for the C Block of spectrum to be licensed as “open,” then the consumer advocacy groups and some analysts will be pretty happy.   Of course if Google does bid that much, it’s possible the company may actually go all the way and win the spectrum itself. Or not. The outcome will either paint Google as the knight in shining armor or as a company determined to really shake up the wireless market.   Which do you think it will be?

InfoWorld: 700MHz Auction Could End 'Disastrously'

January 23, 2008

700Mhz auction. Does that get your heart racing? It isn’t garnering nearly the same level of excitement as, say, Apple releasing a new product. But the FCC’s auction, set to begin tomorrow, nonetheless is setting off some chatter in the wireless industry.

In-Sta: Revenue Growth for Mobile Business Apps to Slow Somewhat in 2008

January 18, 2008

Wireless service providers may need to engage in some reality-checking during 2008 when it comes to projected versus actual revenue growth associated with mobile business applications. That’s what In-Stat predicted this week in a new report, Wireless Data in the US Enterprise 2007: Avoiding a CDPD Reprise.   The research firm expects revenue growth for this particular wireless sector will end up being about 44 percent from 2007 to 2008, down slightly from 50 percent for 2006 and 2007. Why the slight downturn? In-Stat chalked it up to the services companies actually implement, which tend to be somewhat reduced from plans made by decision-makers.

Macworld Keynote Recap So Far

January 15, 2008

As I write this, Steve Jobs has been keynoting for nearly two hours and it appears most of the surprises are out of the bag at this point. I’m sure everyone out there is busy refreshing real-time blogs from Macworld, Engadget and the like. So here’s a very short and sweet recap of what Apple announced today so far:   1. Almost 20 percent of the Apple OS installed base has upgraded to Leopard.

Texting for Takeout Food: Let Your Fingers Do the Ordering

January 14, 2008

As if ordering delivery take-out food wasn’t already easy enough, USA Today recently reported that soon it may no longer be necessary to even talk to another person on the phone to put in your order. That’s because text ordering is being adopted by more and more national fast-food and other restaurant chains, allowing users to send their requests for sustenance via a cell phone.   Among the chains now offering or looking into offering text ordering: Papa John’s (national TV spots now promote the service), Domino’s (launched last July), Pizza Hut (soon to get started), Quiznos (considering), Dunkin’ Donuts (considering), Subway (considering), McDonald’s (testing in Seoul), and Starbucks (trial underway in London and in one U.S. store).

Radar from Tiny Pictures Enables Free Photo and Video Sharing

January 10, 2008

The other day, a rep from Tiny Pictures, which makes software solutions for mobile devices, got in touch to tell me about Radar. She explained that Radar is a free service that lets mobile phone users share camera phone pictures, videos and attached comments with friends and family. She described the service as a “real time conversation—letting you show the funny, nutty, interesting things that happen to you.”   The capabilities of Radar include a private “channel” and Web address to protect your privacy, allowing only invited friends to see the content you’ve chosen to share. Friends can then comment, either privately or publicly.

Texting the Screen During New Year’s Eve in Times Square

January 2, 2008

Yours truly braved the crowds this year to attend the New Year’s celebrations in Times Square. It was a long day—my companions and I arrived in the city about 11:30, and were in position with a great view of the ball by about 2:00. It was a long wait; you try standing in the same place for ten hours and you’ll understand why everyone was cheering at midnight: the ordeal was over, we could all go home.   One of the things that kept the crowd on my side of the street (we were next to the MTV building) entertained was an MTV-sponsored giant screen on which were displayed text messages from people standing on the street. Mobile phone users simply typed in a special code, and whatever username they wanted displayed, then their message.