February 2, 2007

Free Wi-Fi Trial For Vista Users

Link: Free Wi-Fi Trial For Vista Users

Filed under: Microsoft, Technology, Mobile, Wireless by Brian Turner

Microsoft Windows

Hotzone operator The Cloud is offering early adopters of Windows Vista a three-month free trial of Wi-Fi access.

The Cloud was chosen by Microsoft to promote its new Vista operating systems because of its extensive network coverage in the UK.

Vista users in America are being offered a similar deal with T-Mobile as the operator.

Vista users will be able to access the service from early next week by registering on Microsoft’s UK Vista homepage. No credit card details will be required when users initially register, but these details will be needed if they decide to continue with the service after the trial period.

The Cloud operates 7,500 Wi-Fi sites across the UK. It has indoor hotspots in airports, railway stations and hotels, and outdoor hotzones in six city centres. Its square mile-wide wireless network across the City of London will be operational from the end of March.

January 26, 2007

Ofcom Demands Rethink On BBC IPTV

Link: Ofcom Demands Rethink On BBC IPTV

Filed under: Internet, IPTV, Mobile by Jan Harris


Ofcom, the media regulator, has asked the BBC to review its plans for an on-demand IPTV service, due to concerns that it could damage rival commercial services.

The service would allow the BBC to broadcast programmes simultaneously online and on terrestrial TV and also provide viewers with the opportunity to catch up on programmes they have missed.

Ofcom believes that this may not be good for viewers in the long-term as it could have a negative effect on investment in similar commercial services.

Ofcom’s report found that if the BBC enters the IPTV market it could account for 11 billion viewer and listener hours by 2011. This could result in a substantial decline in DVD rentals and sales. Ofcom believes that this part of the BBC’s proposals should be dropped.

It also expressed concern that the commercial market for audio books and classical music could be adversely affected if the BBC proceeded with plans to make such recordings available for free.

Ofcom suggested that the viewers should only be allowed to store previously shown programmes for 14 days, rather than the 13 weeks suggested by the BBC.

On a more positive note, Ofcom remarked that on-demand would provide new ways for views to access BBC services and said that IPTV could potentially boost the new media industry as whole.

The Public Value Test Steering Group will take into account Ofcom’s opinions on IPTV, when it produces a Public Value Assessment. It will then publish an interim decision for consultation before any service launch goes ahead.

January 19, 2007

WiMax To Be Deployed In Warwick

Link: WiMax To Be Deployed In Warwick

Filed under: Internet, Technology, Mobile, Wireless by Jan Harris


Pipex Wireless, the Wireless ISP (WISP), which is a joint venture between Intel and ISP Pipex, is planning its second deployment of WiMax in the UK.

The latest deployment will take place in the city of Warwick. Pipex Wireless will work with National Grid Wireless, Warwick District Council and Intel to set up WiMax connectivity over three sites in the city.

Trials are expected to commence in May or June 2007. Warwick council will be the service’s first customer, using the long-range wireless broadband for leased line services, VoIP and homeworking.

Pipex Wireless hopes to eventually sell the service to domestic customers.

The company first deployed WiMax in Milton Keynes last year. Results from early trials showed speeds of 10Mbps.

If deployment in Warwick is successful, the roll-out of the service will be accelerated to other cities including Manchester. Pipex Wireless is also looking at plans to rollout the technology in a rural area.

However, we can only hope that if anyone has problems with the new Pipex Wireless networks, that they are provided with a better quality of support than existing Pipex broadband customers are given.

January 18, 2007

Mobile TV Zone Expanded At IBC2007 Exhibition

Link: Mobile TV Zone Expanded At IBC2007 Exhibition

Filed under: Technology, IPTV, Mobile, HDTV, Wireless by Jan Harris


The Mobile TV Zone at this autumn’s IBC2007 exhibition in Amsterdam, is being increased in size by 75% to more than 2,500m². The show is the world’s leading broadcasting exhibition.

The decision to devote more space to Mobile TV follows the success of last year’s show and the expansion of the Mobile TV market which is expected to soar from 6 million subscribers in 2007 to over 130 million subscribers in 2010.

The IBC2007 Mobile Zone will showcase the work of applications developers, content providers and technology companies. It will feature the latest developments in mobile TV, 3G services and mobile devices.

The impact of mobile devices on the creation, management and delivery of content will be a major theme of the show.

Visitors to the show will be able to attend free business briefings examining some of the issues and opportunities arising from the expansion of Mobile TV.

The IBC2007 Mobile Zone is being jointly developed and marketed by IBC, IT Europa and BPL. The IBC2007 exhibition will take place from 7th - 11th September 2007 at the RAI, Amsterdam.

January 17, 2007

Apple and Microsoft Battle For Home Entertainment Market

Link: Apple and Microsoft Battle For Home Entertainment Market

Filed under: Microsoft, Technology, Mobile, Apple, Companies, HDTV by Jan Harris


Silicon.com, the technology news site, asked its readers if they thought Apple or Microsoft was the most likely to win the battle for the home entertainment market.

Apple came out first with 54% of the vote, while Microsoft came a close second with 46% of the vote.

Microsoft launched a home server at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Developed in collaboration with HP, the MediaSmart Server running new Windows Home Server software will be available in the second half of 2007.

It will be able to back up photographs, music, videos and documents automatically and can be accessed via a remote handset. The server will store terabytes of data.

Apple recognised the opportunity in the expanding home digital market in 2005 and launched its iMac G5 home entertainment hub. The G5 can be used to back up and access music, DVD movies, photos and television programmes via a remote hand control.

Apple in now preparing to launch the ‘iTV’ which will allow users to stream music or movies from a PC direct to a television.

Although the poll makes for interesting reading, ultimately it can only show what the audience bias for the poll actually is.

However, the battle for home entertainment is real, and Apple have made it clear they intend to prove strong competition.

January 14, 2007

On2’s Codecs Speed Net Video

Link: On2’s Codecs Speed Net Video

Filed under: Internet, Technology, IPTV, Mobile by Jan Harris


On2 Technologies demonstrated its TrueMotion VP6 and VP7 codecs at the CES show in Las Vegas.

The codecs can compress high-definition video down to 2Mbps, significantly increasing the speed at which it can be transmitted over the Internet.

Codecs are mathematical formulas that enable very large digital-video files to be compressed and decompressed with minimal damage to quality.

Large video files are difficult to transfer via broadband networks, resulting in long download times. A two hour film, for example, can take six hours to download and the image quality is often inferior to DVD quality. These issues are major deterrent to downloading films and TV programmes from the Internet.

On2 Technologies’ long-term strategy is to help distribute high-definition content over the Web and the new Codecs are a key element in positioning the company to serve the increasing number of media companies in the online video market who would benefit from its products.

On2 currently licenses its technology to China Mobile, Skype, Brightcove, XM Satellite Radio and Adobe, which integrates On2’s VP6 codec into its Flash 8 and 9 players.

On2 faces competition from Microsoft and DivX and the development of H.264, a standards-based codec and successor to MPEG4 format. DivX plans to launch a video-sharing site called Stage6.divx.com, which will demonstrate its compression software.

Microsoft is also increasing its presence in the media delivery industry. The company includes its streaming encoder, media server, player, tools and digital rights management (DRM) products with its Windows operating systems and servers at no additional cost.

January 11, 2007

Apple sued over iPhone - more to follow?

Link: Apple sued over iPhone - more to follow?

Filed under: Technology, Mobile, Apple, Legal, Hardware, Wireless, Telecoms by Brian Turner


After the high-profile launch of the Apple iPhone on Monday, Cisco has stepped in with a legal suit for trademark infringement.

Cisco-owned company Linksys already owns the trademark on the iPhone, and has done since the purchase of Infogear in 2000.

Although talks between Apple and Cisco had taken place, and although it was believed a licencing arrangement was close, Steve Jobs announced the iPhone before the talks could reach agreement.

A potential sticking point is that Cisco is believed to have wanted the Apple iPhone to be compatible with Linksys VoIP products, to create interoperability and reduce consumer confusion over the products.

Now that Apple are claiming rights to the name without agreement, Cisco has filed a lawsuit for trademark violation.

According to a Cisco spokesman, Cisco had acted in good faith, and accused Apple of trying to repeatedly acquire the trademark directly and indirectly, not least via front company.

An Apple spokesman is reported as stating the Cisco claim is “silly”, because the trademark does not apply to cell phones.

It’s not the first time Apple - now renamed Apple Inc, from Apple Computers Inc - has run foul of trademark issues.

Previously they contested a trademark dispute with the Beatles’ Apple Records label - and the ensuing court case, heard in the UK, ruled in favour of Apple being able to use the name because of the clear disparity in products would not cause confusion.

While the difference between a VoIP phone and cell phone is enough to allow Apple to use the trademark will now be left to the US courts to decide.

However, this may only be the start of Apple’s battles.

Apple have claimed that the Apple iPhone is a revolutionary new touchscreen phone - but LG recently launched the LG KE850, a slimline touchscreen phone which has a remarkably similar design.

The LG KE850 has already won a Product Design Award for 2007 from the International Design Forum.

We’ve already seen RIM - the maker of the iconic Blackberry - take Samsung to court over similar design and potential brand confusion.

It remains to be seen if any legal action, justified or not, may follow over this issue, and leave Apple embroiled in legal cases around it’s biggest new product for years.

January 9, 2007

Official: Apple iPhone launched

Link: Official: Apple iPhone launched

Filed under: Technology, Google, Yahoo!, Browsers, Mobile, Apple, Hardware, Wireless by Brian Turner

Apple iPhone

It’s official - the long-rumoured Apple iPhone will be launched this year.

And it’s not simply a phone, but a widescreen iPod, mobile phone and mobile internet device all in one.

Steve Jobs provided the first tour of the “internet multimedia device” at MacWorld Expo, hailing that Apple had “reinvented the phone”.

It has no buttons - everything is touchscreen.

It even appears that Cisco have allowed Apple rights to call the new device iPhone, even though Cisco owns the actual trademark on the name.

During a presentation lasting over an hour, Steve Jobs gave a thorough demonstration of the services associated with the phone.

The wireless internet is part is key to the iPhone, and uses a tabbed version of the Safari browser to surf the internet.

Additionally, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt, were brought on stage by Steve Jobs to demonstrate how technologies from both companies have been integrated - not least Google Maps and Yahoo Mail.

The iPhone also provides a respectable 4-8GB of Flash memory for photos and video.

Cingular are also providing exclusive support for the iPhone, and use of it will probably require a subscription to AT&T.

The iPhone was announced to ship in US in June, in Europe in the fourth quarter and in Asia in 2008.

Overall information is currently sketchly as journalists frantically write down the detailed specifications and demonstrated services from the Steve Jobs presentation.

However, so far Gizmodo has presented some of the best overall coverage - with plenty of appetite-whetting images.

Of all the tech gadgets ever launched, the iPhone is not simply one of the most eagerly awaited - but quite possibly the most significant release for years.

UPDATE: The official iPhone page at Apple.

January 5, 2007

4Radio Offers Free Content to PSP Users

Link: 4Radio Offers Free Content to PSP Users

Filed under: Technology, Mobile, Wireless by Brian Turner

Computers & Internet

Channel 4, in an agreement with Wi-Fi provider The Cloud, is launching a two-month trial offering free content to Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) users. The new service will allow 4Radio podcasts to be downloaded to PSP games consoles.

Programmes will be designed specifically for PSP owners including news programmes, content from SlashMusic and updates on Celebrity Big Brother.

The Cloud has connections at 7,500 public hotspots throughout the UK. When PSP users open the internet browser within range of a hotspot they will automatically be pointed to a page designed for them.

The innovative service, providing 4Radio’s content on-demand while on the go, will allow Channel 4 Radio to target listeners who don’t have time to tune in before they leave the house.

Wireless broadband for car drivers

Link: Wireless broadband for car drivers

Filed under: Technology, Mobile, Wireless by Jan Harris


Autonet Mobile has announced a new wireless service for vehicles, which provides in-car interet connectivity via WiFi Hotspot technology in the USA. The company plans to launch the technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 8.

Autonet Mobile will offer the service - the first always-on broadband Internet service for cars - through leading car rental company, Avis Rent-A-Car System. It is expected that Autonet will provide a rolling Wi-Fi hot spot to Avis customers by the end of the first quarter.

Under the expected agreement, Avis will provide motorists with a device that plugs into a car’s power supply and delivers a high-speed Internet connection for laptops and other WiFi-enabled electronic devices for $10.95 a day. The device utilises the 3G cellular network and will work across 95% of the USA.

The service will initially be focused on business travellers, but it is expected that it will be extended to families travelling with children. The service is intended for use by passengers, not drivers, as operating the WiFi hotspot technology while driving would be unsafe and would contravene traffic regulations. Avis will require renters to agree not to hold it liable for accidents resulting from irresponsible use.

Although the idea of driving and using the internet may initially raise initial horrorof distracted drivers, there are surely plenty of applications where this is going to be useful. For example, a number of cars already have GPS systems installed in them, and always-on broadband is likely to expand on the services available for drivers.

January 4, 2007

Nokia, Matsushita and Samsung sued over Bluetooth

Link: Nokia, Matsushita and Samsung sued over Bluetooth

Filed under: Technology, Mobile by Brian Turner


Mobile phone manufacturers Nokia, Matsushita and Samsung are being sued over alleged patent infringements over their use of Bluetooth technology.

The claim is made by the Washington Research Institute, which handles patent licencing on behalf of the universities who originally developed Bluetooth technology.

According to a representative for the Washington Research Institute, they have been trying to resolve the issue with Nokia for three years, but have failed to see a “reasonable settlement”.

The filing specifically mentions UK chip maker CSR as infringing on Bluetooth payments. CSR is a major supplier to Nokia.

Rival US chipmaker Broadcom is claimed by the Washington Research Institute to have exclusive rights to patents on connecting mobile phones to other devices via Bluetooth technology.

Overall, this action looks like it could develop into a real headache for the major mobile phone operators and their manufacturers - not least because this is a claim made by a respected body.

While it’s difficult at this stage to determine the outcome, it wouldn’t surprise Platinax if the case drags out a couple of years before we see some form of settlement accepted from the mobile operators.

January 3, 2007

Nokia to release key smart phone

Link: Nokia to release key smart phone

Filed under: Internet, Technology, Mobile by Brian Turner


Correction: The following story originally reported that the N95 had been released.

However, it appears that it was simply a commercial that was released. The Nokia N95 is not due for release until at least next month. Our apologies for the error.

Nokia is to release the Nokia N95 smart phone within the next few weeks, which aims to bring mobile computing to a new level.

Not only does it sport a 5 mega-pixel camera, it also plays MP3 files, records DVD-quality video, comes fitted with GPS, as well as bluetooth compatibility with WLAN, EDGE, WCDMA and HSDPA networks.

Although a number of smart phones exist on the marketplace, the Nokia N95 represents a new step towards attempting to bring a wealth of features to a single mobile device - and move the internet a step closer to genuine mobile computing.

However, with the handset costing between £200 - £350, depending as to whether you subscribe to a £40-£20 a month network, it’s obviously aimed at the higher end of the market.

Still, what the Nokia N95 does demonstrate is that media-integration with mobile devices is moving fast, and suggests abilities that will be more common on mainstream mobile phones within the next couple of years.

December 16, 2006

EC to enable wireless devices to work Europe-wide

Link: EC to enable wireless devices to work Europe-wide

Filed under: Technology, Mobile by Brian Turner


The European Commission is harmonising radio frequency bands across the European Union in order to promote the use of wireless devices such as wireless computer keyboards, headphones and garage door openers.

It is hoped that the initiative will enable anyone in Europe to use the same short-range wireless product anywhere in the EU. This would mean that manufacturers would only need to make one product for the whole internal market.

Short range wireless devices will be able to be operated without a licence in all Member States. It will free consumers from the need to check whether equipment can be used in a particular location.

This is expected to stimulate demand for wireless products, reduce production costs and encourage the development of new innovative devices and applications. The value of the market for wireless devices is estimated to be €25 billion by 2009.

A further strategy aims to harmonise frequencies for RFID (radio frequency identification) devices. These electronic tags are increasingly used in businesses such as retail and logistics for tracking goods and persons.

They are also used in security and alarm systems. Harmonisation of the RFID radio spectrum is expected to support the development of RFID technology in Europe.

December 14, 2006

Norway tests Minority Report ads

Link: Norway tests Minority Report ads

Filed under: Internet, Technology, Marketing, IPTV, Mobile by Brian Turner


The future of the internet is moving closer to scenes in Minority report, as Norway tests contextual advertising for mobile TV.

The trial involves at least two TV channels, and will serve ads according to what viewers watch.

The move is being labelled as “proof of concept” on an advertising ideal, that envisages a future where individuals can be served ads wherever they are.

This is especially the case where local services or products may wish to target potential customers passing by.

The vision is reminiscent of a scene from the film Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, which involves personalised adverting - such as from Lexus - holographically projected at him as he walks along a corridor.

Whether or not this specific Norwegian trial succeeds, the one thing you can bet on is that it won’t be the last.

December 13, 2006

Apple iPhone delayed as iTunes crashes

Link: Apple iPhone delayed as iTunes crashes

Filed under: Technology, Mobile, Apple by Brian Turner


Expectations that Apple may announce an iPhone in January may be dashed.

Suggestions and rumours that Apple were going to launch an “iPhone” with Motorola - a mobile device merging phone and iPod technology - have been alive for years.

Speculation became heightened that the long-awaited device would see a launch at this coming January’s MacWorld Expo.

This was encouraged by Apple’s demonstration of iTV in September - a home theatre content streaming device - and patent application in August for a combined music player/phone combo.

However, market analysts think Apple fans are losing touch with reality.

CIBC World Markets doesn’t believe we’ll see an iPhone until nearer the middle of 2007, and other analysts agree.

Compounding the problem is that according to a Forrester’s Research, sales from Apple’s iTunes online store have tanked over 2006, losing 65% of overall revenue due to declining sales.

So while Apple may not be in a hurry to acknowledge an iPhone is coming, they will need to get their act together to regain momentum in the digital entertainment market.

The big danger is, any iPhone will deliver too little too late in the face of rampant expectation.

ADDED: Update the to story here: iTunes fall raises controversy

December 12, 2006

RIM sues Samsung over Black

Link: RIM sues Samsung over Black

Filed under: Technology, Mobile, Legal by Brian Turner


Research in Motion (RIM) - the company behind the iconic Blackberry - is taking Samsung to court after the rival company released rival products, branded with “black” in their name.

Proceedings were filed after Samsung released two products targeted at the same high-end markets as the Blackberry.

The BlackJack, and Black Carbon, are both smart phones released by Samsung.

However, RIM contends that the use of “black” in their name is a wilful attempt to try and confuse the well-known Blackberry brand with Samsung’s own newer products.

Well, let’s just see if consumers could become possibly confused - below, 3 different series of Blackberry, and 1 Blackjack:

Blackberry & Samsung Blackjack


December 5, 2006

BT Partners With Motorola For Wireless City Initiatives

Link: BT Partners With Motorola For Wireless City Initiatives

Filed under: Business, Technology, Mobile by Jan Harris


BT has selected Motorola, Inc to provide mesh Wi-Fi network infrastructure and services for six of BT’s Wireless City initiatives in the UK.

Under the terms of the agreement, Motorola will design, deploy and manage city-wide Wi-Fi networks with BT in cities such as Birmingham and Newcastle.

The Mesh Wi-Fi networks will deliver wireless broadband for use by public services, businesses and citizens in each of the cities. BT Openzone hotspots will be extended to enable wireless web access and email.

Contiguous Wi-Fi coverage will be provided to enable real time applications using for example, BT Fusion dual mode devices. Virtual private network (VPN) services will be provided for enterprise customers. These will also e-enable local authority workforces. Wireless closed circuit television (CCTV) will be provided to aid community safety and security.

Motorola will supply solutions from its MOTOwi4 wireless broadband portfolio. The solutions will be deployed across the cities on existing sites such as lampposts. The Motorola solution allows data to be backhauled wirelessly.

This saves the cost, time and disruption involved with building a fixed network. The networks will be Mesh-enabled, making them secure and robust and allowing the network to “self heal” should individual access points fail by rerouting traffic.

November 29, 2006

Rollout of Westminster’s Wireless Connectivity Imminent

Link: Rollout of Westminster’s Wireless Connectivity Imminent

Filed under: Technology, Mobile by Brian Turner

Computers & Internet

Rollout of wireless connectivity across Westminster is to begin by the end of 2006.

Work will start in Soho and the West End and it is expected that the whole City of Westminster, a total of 28 square kilometres, will be connected by the end of 2008.

Wireless connectivity will increase the efficiency of council workers, allowing them to input data into a handheld device rather than having to return to City Hall.

It will also be beneficial to the general public, who will be able to pay to use connectivity in the area. Residents will also be able to access the system for free to carry out transactions such as paying for parking tickets.

A wirelessly connected CCTV camera system will be trialled during the pilot of the project. The scheme was announced by Westminster council in early 2004, and was extended across Soho and into some council estates in 2005. Work will now start on rolling out the network.

The scheme is part of BT’s Wireless Cities initiative, and BT will build the system and sell access under its Openzone brand. However, the actual operator is Vertex, Westminster Council’s strategic partner.

The system will be a mesh network based on a core fibre backbone, and Cisco’s mobile access routers which will be fixed on to lampposts and other street furniture. There is potential to add WiMax capability in the future.

Intel Puts Un-ratified Standard in Centrino

Link: Intel Puts Un-ratified Standard in Centrino

Filed under: Technology, Mobile by Jan Harris

Computers & Internet

Intel Corporation plans to include the IEEE 802.11n standard, which is not expected to be ratified before the first half of 2008, into its Centrino chips by next year.

Industry analysts have voiced concerns about plans to deploy high speed IEEE 802.11n devices before the standard is ratified.

It is believed that while a pre-standard version might be suitable for home-use where the technology exists as a closed loop, in an enterprise with a heterogeneous wireless environment there is the potential for it to cause interoperability problems.

802.11 is a group of specifications developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) for wireless local area networks (WLANs).

The specifications define an over-the-air interface between a wireless client and a base station (or access point), or between two or more wireless clients. The technology is more commonly known as Wi-Fi.

The next generation wireless LAN (WLAN) standard - 802.11n - is designed to power data-intensive media, including multiple HDTV and digital video streams. 802.11n will substantially increase the speed of Wi-Fi connections, supporting consumer electronic devices at speeds of 500 Mbps or greater.

It will eliminate the need to lay and maintain Ethernet cabling, will handle more clients and also increase the range and performance of hotspots.

November 22, 2006

O2 Rejects Mobile-phone Wi-Fi

Link: O2 Rejects Mobile-phone Wi-Fi

Filed under: Mobile, Companies by Jan Harris


Mobile operator O2 has decided to support GSM and 3G mobile technology, rather than Wi-Fi in its next generation of phones. At a London summit in November, O2 rejected Wi-Fi hotzones and WiMax.

Dave Williams, O2’s chief technology officer said “We’ve played with UMA and SIP, but they would require new phones”.

At the summit, Mr Williams demonstrated an Ericsson-built GSM indoor base-station which would use the customer’s DSL to connect to the mobile network.

The box does not need UMA or SIP because it includes a reverse-engineered Sony Ericsson phone which connects to the phone network over the Internet.

The box has a slot to include a SIM card. O2 is considering distributing the box to customers in 2007 as the basis of a triple-play broadband service rolled out by O2’s recently acquired broadband division, Be.

O2 plans to deliver service only to unbundled exchanges, where it does not have to resell BT services. It has decided to delay the launch until it can reach 50 percent of the UK population from such exchanges.

O2 is also considering launching My Bluebook - a service to back up sentimental photos and texts to an O2 server.

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