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


What’s New and Cool in Wireless

September 26, 2006

This week in San Diego (the same city where, incidentally, TMC’s Internet Telephony EXPO will be held a fortnight from now), technology companies are gathered to show off their latest innovations at the DEMOfall 2006 show. Perusing through the list of products on display, a few caught my eye that relate to the wireless/mobility arena.

First up is Dash Navigation, Inc.’s simply named Dash product/service, which delivers real-time information to people while they’re driving in their cars. To me, the coolest thing about Dash is that it “creates a network of drivers who help each other avoid traffic and share information about their destinations.” I’ve read about SMS services in Europe that alert drivers about traffic jams, and this appears to be along the same lines.

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.

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.

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.

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.

UMTS/HSDPA Wireless Laptop from HP and Cingular

December 13, 2006

It’s not too late to add another item to your Christmas wish list, is it? If you’re a power laptop user, an announcement yesterday from HP and Cingular may have you dropping some last-minute hints to Santa. The two companies announced availability of the first laptop in the U.S. market with built-in mobile broadband capability.

ABI: Wireless Connectivity Technologies Converging in Computer Chips

March 5, 2007

Among manufacturers that make chips and other components found in wireless consumer electronics products like cellphones and PDAs, there is a definite trend toward trying to cram more and more functionality into smaller and smaller spaces.   One way to do this, ABI Research noted in a new report out today, is to create wireless integrated circuits (ICs, also known as computer chips) that truly are integrated in the sense that they bring together multiple wireless connectivity technologies—such as WiFi, GPS, and FM radio.   In other words, the convergence of different wireless communications technologies is being applied to the very chips that power handheld device applications.   ABI predicts that by 2011, 32 percent of all ICs with Bluetooth, WiFi, WiMedia, GPS and FM radio functionality will be “integrated products that are either incorporated into a connectivity package combining two or more solutions, or will be integrated with a host processor or baseband processor.”   Perhaps unsurprisingly, ABI predicts that the two equipment sectors to see the majority of this integration will be cellular handsets and mobile computing.   The change is happening already, ABI said. Analyst Stuart Carlaw used two examples to illustrate this point:   Broadcom’s recently launched BCM4325, which integrates Bluetooth, FM radio and WiFi in a single IC   CSR’s recent acquisitions of NordNav and Cambridge Positioning Systems, in line with the company’s goal to begin producing ICs that combine GPS and Bluetooth   “We are on the cusp of a high level of integration activity, as silicon vendors look to add value to their offerings, diversify, and differentiate themselves in what are increasingly competitive markets,” Carlaw said in a statement.

CTIA Wireless News Starts Now

March 26, 2007

The CTIA Wireless 2007 show kicks off tomorrow in Orlando, Florida. Already the newswires are starting to get flooded with announcements from wireless industry companies promoting their latest products, services and achievements. A quick search on Google News for “ctia” turned up the following:
  • Announcement that the creator of BlackBerry (Mike Lazaridis) has replaced Motorola’s CEO (Ed Zander) as the CTIA keynoter.
  • Announcement from TCS that it has been selected as a CTIA Wireless 2007 E-Tech Award finalist.
  • Announcements from Pantech and Nokia about their displays at the show.
I’m bracing for continued deluge of news as the show gets underway, and will be blogging, albeit from afar, on events and news that catch my eye.

Maine Considers Banning Use of All Hand-held Gadgets for Young Drivers

May 18, 2007

Bad news for young addicts of today’s mobile electronic gadgets: the state legislature in Maine is considering a bill that would bane the use of electronic devices, including cell phones, for drives under the age of 18. According to Bangor Daily News reporter Tom Groening, the proposed bill won unanimous approval on Thursday by the legislature’s Transportation Committee.   In his report Friday, Groening said that the bill, LD 161, would go beyond current laws which prohibit minors’ use of cell phones while driving during their first 180 days holding an intermediate license. This new bill would also ban use of other handheld gadgets, like video games and portable MP3 players, while driving.   Groening’s report quoted a deputy with the state’s Office of Policy and Legal Analysis, who advised the Transportation Committee, as saying that the bill was broadened beyond its original address all electronics-related causes of young driver distraction.   On a related note, Groening said, the same committee also considered another bill, LD 114, that would have banned use of hand-held cell phones for ALL drivers; that bill was defeated. Meanwhile, a third bill (LD 576) that tasks the Department of Public Safety with studying the role of hand-hand cell phones in crashes, was recently passed in an amended form.   What’s my take on all this?

ABI: Mobile Phone Accessories More Profitable Than the Phone Itself

May 29, 2007

Sometimes, accessories for “the thing” generate more revenue than “the thing” itself. Perhaps not with revenue (I don’t have the numbers handy) but certainly with ubiquity, we’ve seen this trend in the explosion during the past few years of iPod accessories. Apple isn’t the only company to realize that, once people have their iPod, the way to keep the money flowing (aside from introducing new iPods every year or two) is through accessories: cases, faceplates, gadgets for connectivity in the car, etc.   In the mobile phone market, at least, current projections indicate that accessories are poised to soon drive more revenue than the sale of phones themselves.
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