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

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.