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

Motorola on 802.11n: 'We're Waiting Until It's Ratified'

May 25, 2007

Sometimes, being an early adopter of new technology is not the best business strategy. That’s the tact being taken by wireless products manufacturer Motorola. CNet News reporter David Meyer wrote in a Friday article that, speaking at a ZDNet event in London, Motorola senior products manager Angelo Lamme said the company has no plans to make any 802.11n-based products until the standard is fully ratified by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).   That’s despite the fact that 802.11n may not be ratified until 2009.

VIYYA Takes Emergency Alerts Beyond Wireless

May 21, 2007

After the shootings at Virginia Tech earlier this spring, students, parents, faculty and staff at schools across the country have been paying renewed attention to the need for improved emergency alert systems. One company that’s taking an in-depth look at the problem is VIYYA Technologies, which in April announced the launch of its Emergency Alert Information Portal, an application designed to distribute information in a timely manner, both on a routine basis and during times of crisis.   I was made aware late last week of VIYYA’s efforts in this arena, and figured it would be a good to idea to mention it in my blog. I admit, I do appreciate the company’s apparent thoughtfulness about the subject; in a press release on May 16, VIYYA stressed that, although it did get the application up quickly, the solution is not designed to be a one-size-fits all, knee-jerk reaction to the need for better emergency alert systems.   The company said that its developers met with officials at a variety of education institutions to determine which emergency alert methods work, and which don’t, in different types of settings.

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?

AdMob and mywaves Team up on Mobile Video Ads

May 14, 2007

Okay, I have to admit something here: I’m a bit tardy in my reporting on the news that I’ll be featuring this blog entry. Last week one of the PR contacts who regularly feeds me wireless-related news sent me a note about a new mobile video partnership between mywaves and AdMob. The news came out on Thursday, and I’m just now writing about it—the product of a busy schedule.   mywaves is a mobile media company that delivers video content via the Web to cell phones.

Broadband Wireless in India

May 4, 2007

In a recent Slashot post (April 27), a contributor identified as Zonk shared info from another contributor, Codecracker007, indicating that the government in India is planning to roll out free, 2 Mbps broadband access for all resident of the subcontinent by 2009. This is according to an April 26 article in The Economic Times which said that the service will be provided by government owned operators BSNL and MTNL.

That report warned that this plan, if implemented, “holds the potential to kill the telecom business as we know it.” That being said, it not too surprising, given that “the Indian government and its autonomous regulatory bodies are very proactive in holding the consumer interests above the operators.” The Slashdot post said that this heavy-handiness on the part of the government has helped reduce long distance and wireless tariffs by up to a factor of 20 during the past seven years.

So what does all this have to do with wireless?

VirginiaTech Update: Technology Didn’t Speed up Warnings

April 16, 2007

Here’s an update on the VirginiaTech shootings: an AP report published just after 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time said that it took the university two hours to compose and send out an e-mail to students warning them about the first shooting.   According to the article, that’s also the span of time between the first shooting and the second one; by the time students got the e-mail (at 9:26 a.m.), the gunman had moved to a second building and begun his rampage again. The article also quoted a student saying that there were no public address system warnings as he walked to class at 9:00 a.m.

VirginiaTech Shooting: Student Uses Cell Phone to Bring Us There

April 16, 2007

A student at VirginiaTech this morning showed the kind of go-getter courage that would make him a good journalist, and demonstrated how modern technology is changing the way our society observes and responds to extraordinary events.   The student, Jamal Albarghouti (a civil engineering major, according to VirginiaTech’s directory), turned his cell phone on and started recording with its video camera, after realizing that something unusual was happening on campus. In an interview available on, Albarghouti said that at first he thought there was another bomb threat, but when he saw the officer pull out their guns and heard shots, he knew there was a bigger story developing.   In Albarghouti’s video clip, several armed police officers are seen approaching Norris Hall on the Blacksburg campus, and shots are heard in the background.   Think about this for a moment.

ViVOtech and Gemalto: Kings of the Contactless Technology Hill

April 10, 2007

ABI Research recently published its latest report on the contactless technology industry, including vendor matrixes showing which companies lead the pack. For those not familiar, contactless technology (also sometimes referred to as “near field communications”) refers to systems that use short-range wireless signal to transmit information from a small tag or transmitter to a receiver. Two examples are E-Z Pass for paying highway tolls, and key-fobs that provide access to corporate buildings.   Two companies that I have to admit I’d never heard of before topped ABI’s matrix of leading contactless reader and contactless inlay vendors: ViVOtech and Gemalto, respectively.   ViVOtech is a company that specializes in technology for next-generation, electronic payment systems.

Phone Sherpa Helps Artists Sell Their Work as Mobile Content

April 5, 2007

Many companies looking to make a buck (or a few million bucks) on the Web in recent years have gone into the mobile content business—selling things like ringtones and wallpaper for cell phones. This is a potentially very lucrative market, and one that also has potential for musicians and other artists looking for a way to distribute their creations while making some money. However, setting up a functional online store that’s compelling enough for visitors to return again and again can be a challenge.   This week I received a phone call from a representative at Phone Sherpa, a Seattle-based company (founded in 2005) that describes itself as “the world's leading ringtone maker and ringtone store service.” The rep wanted me to know about a new Phone Sherpa’s new Mobile Store solution, which provides tools to market and promote music and art as ringtones or wallpaper for mobile phones.

RSI ID Tech Intros New RFID-enabled Retail Display Cases

March 27, 2007

So much news coming out of CTIA today is flooding the newswires that I’m gonna do something unimaginable—blog about a news item I received today that’s not connected with the wireless show. Gasp!   Don’t worry, I’ll definitely be blogging about CTIA this week. Just not this second.   Okay, here goes…   RSI ID Technologies, which was founded in 1991, is primarily a manufacturer of RFID antennas, inlays and tags; it also offers a line of HF and UHF RFID labels, readers and software. The company’s self-described mission is to “deliver complete, innovative solutions to complex RFID problems across global markets.”   Today’s announcement from RSI ID Technologies targets the retail market: the company is now offering two RFID-enabled display cases, under the brand name Pressica, designed specifically for eyewear and jewelry.