August Newsbits

By Naomi Graychase

August 28, 2008

Nokia steps up its game; libraries enter the age of iPod downloads; Boingo adds hundreds of campgrounds and RV parks to its hotspot network; new Bluetooth headset features audible Caller ID; Apple sued over connectivity failures; and more.

Seeking to undermine Apple, Samsung and others, the Finnish handset maker aims for deep-pocketed phone users, a key market. Nokia unveiled two new high-end phone models, the N79 and the N85, as the world's top mobile phone maker battles against increasing competition from the likes of Apple and Samsung. For more, read this.

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Hoping to draw back readers, libraries around the country are expanding their lists of digital books, music, and movies that can be downloaded by their patrons to a computer or MP3 player--and it doesn't cost a cent, unlike, say, media from Apple's iTunes or Amazon.com. For more, read "Libraries Enter the Age of iPod Downloads."

August 27, 2008

Boingo Wireless announced today that it has added NomadISP to its Boingo Roaming Network. The partnership will provide Boingo members with access to nearly 300 hotspots located in RV parks, campgrounds, and parks throughout the United States and Canada.

With the new locations from NomadISP, Boingo’s aggregated network now includes some of the top camping locations across North America, including those around Glacier National Park, the Grand Canyon, Sherkton Shores in Ontario, Canada, Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, among others.

Boingo's total network includes more than 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspot locations from more than 150 leading Wi-Fi operators in 90 countries. Boingo members can connect to any of these locations with a single Boingo account using GoBoingo, Boingo’s free Wi-Fi client software, which combines more than 660 network names into one “Boingo Wireless” network and stores the user name and password to simplify identifying and connecting to commercial Wi-Fi networks.

A directory of campgrounds and RV parks that are part of the Boingo Partner Network can be found here.

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SouthWing, a leading European developer of Bluetooth technology, announced today its new hands-free Bluetooth headset, the SH241 ($39.99). Distributed exclusively at retail stores in the U.S. by AT&T, the SH241, which is popular in Europe, offers special voice features, including "WhisperMode," which “whispers” an incoming call number to the user through the earpiece. This audible Caller ID allows users to remain hands-free, but still have access to their callers' numbers.  SouthWing is the first to offer this feature in the American market.

August 21, 2008

An iPhone user is suing Apple over complaints that the device fails to meet connectivity expectations--a move that illustrates consumers' growing frustration with their mobile device experiences, industry watchers say. Read the full story at InternetNews.com.

August 19, 2008

A controversial FCC proposal to build a smut-free wireless broadband network that would provide no-cost Internet access to nearly all Americans is inching forward. But the auction that would get the process in motion isn't likely to happen until well into next year.Wireless carriers, most vocally T-Mobile, have warned that the plan could result in interference with their existing networks, and have asked the FCC to delay the plan to accommodate further testing. Read more at InternetNews.com.

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HP has announced a line of portable lightweight computers aimed at business travelers to compete with a product range announced by rival Dell last week. Learn more at InternetNews.com.

August 14, 2008

Wavesat, a supplier of broadband wireless semiconductor solutions, announced in July that Professor Michael Walker, Group R&D Director at Vodafone, has been appointed to the Board of Directors. 

"We welcome the addition of Mike to our Board,” said Pat Smith, Chairman of the Board, Wavesat in a press release July 9th. “As a leader in the telecom industry, he brings a wealth of expertise and wisdom that will be very beneficial to Wavesat.  His market knowledge will be a tremendous asset as Wavesat extends its global reach and enters new markets."

For more on Wavesat, read "Wavesat's Shark Attack," "Freescale, Wavesat Partner on WiMAX CPEs," and "Wavesat to Make WiBro Client Chips."

For more on Vodafone, read "PROBE Extends NZ Wireless Broadband," "New Smartphone Has Wi-Fi, Disappearing Keyboard," and "Hotspot Hits for January, 2007."

August 13, 2008

Trapeze Networks, provider of Smart Mobile wireless solutions, has signed a value-added distribution agreement with NetXUSA, a leading specialty distributor of Voice over IP (VoIP) products. The agreement allows Trapeze to service resellers looking to add WLAN to their portfolio.

“Companies are realizing that voice over Wi-Fi provides tremendous operating cost savings and mobility advantages over traditional VoIP deployments,” said Jim Vogt, president and chief executive officer, Trapeze Networks in a press release.  “NetXUSA is a natural partner for us to deliver wireless voice solutions; they have the expertise and synergistic relationships with PBX and handset providers to deliver a complete solution that is tested, configured and ready to go.”

To date, Trapeze Networks has delivered Wi-Fi solutions to more than 3,000 enterprise customers across a variety of industries, with a particular focus in healthcare, education, government, and manufacturing. 

For more on Trapeze, read "Trapeze Branches Out," "Trapeze To Manage Cisco APs," "Trapeze Upgrades to 5.0."

For more on Voice over Wi-Fi, visit our VoIP section.

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Road warriors looking to cut down on wait times in security lines at airports may benefit from the new line of laptop cases and sleeves announced today by Solo. Its new FlyThru line of bags is designed to allow air travelers to more quickly pass through airport security by eliminating the need to remove laptops from bags for x-ray scanning.

The FlyThru cases conform to the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) guidelines for "checkpoint-friendly" bags.

The first Solo FlyThru bags will be released this fall and will be priced in the $30-$60 range.

UPDATE: August 21, Solo announced its checkpoint-friendly bags would have a new name: CheckFast. Options include, a mesh-covered removable laptop sleeve for 15.4” laptops that features cut-out windows for easy identification by airport security, a clamshell “Mini Instant Messenger” that holds an 11” netbook (both from the Tech Collection), and a clamshell portfolio for 15.4” laptops from the Classic Collection that will lay flat across the x-ray belt during screening. 

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Global IP Solutions announced Monday it has adapted its highly successful VoiceEngine Mobile technology (used in Skype and other Internet-based VoIP services) for Apple's second-generation iPhone. More details at EnterpriseVoIPPlanet.com.

August 12, 2008

2Wire, a provider of broadband solutions, celebrated today its 10-year anniversary as well as the shipment of its 20 millionth HomePortal intelligent gateway. The California-based company shipped its first wireless gateway in 2001.

“From the beginning, it seems that 2Wire correctly anticipated and timed the growth we are currently witnessing in the broadband market,” said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst with Parks Associates in a 2Wire press release today. “The company continues to lead the market to this day, with innovations in residential gateways, storage solutions, and convergent video and digital entertainment offerings. By the end of this year, 27 million households worldwide will have residential gateways, growing to more than 70 million by the end of 2012. With its expanding portfolio of products and services, 2Wire is very well positioned to continue capitalizing on this growth.”

August 11, 2008

Today, Atheros announced that its XSPAN single-chip 802.11n solutions for the PC market, the AR9280 and AR9281, are certified for the new Cisco Compatible Extensions Program Version 5 (CCX V5).

According to Atheros, the XSPAN AR9280 and AR9281 are the industry's first shipping, single-chip 802.11n solutions for the PC market, as well as the first wireless LAN chipsets to be certified for CCX V5.

Cisco Compatibility Extensions certification means that PC OEMs using Atheros's XSPAN chips can assure enterprise customers of platform interoperability with Cisco's latest wireless infrastructure.

"Cisco Compatible Extensions Version 5 helps ensure optimum performance and interoperability with Cisco's Unified Wireless Network and Mobility Services," said Christophe Servais, Cisco's marketing manager of mobility solutions in an Atheros press release today. "Atheros provides a combination of industry leading 802.11n performance with state-of-the-art Compatible Extensions interoperability to PC customers who wish to enhance the quality of wireless computing, voice, location, and other enterprise applications and services."

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HP today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Colubris Networks, a privately-held global provider of intelligent wireless networks for enterprises and service providers.

HP plans to integrate Colubris’s  product line into its ProCurve Networking product portfolio.

“The acquisition of Colubris Networks will strengthen ProCurve’s hardware, management platform and services, significantly improving the overall performance capabilities of both wired and wireless networks, and will deliver even more best-in-class choices for our customers worldwide,” said Marius Haas, senior vice president and general manager, HP ProCurve in a press release today.

The acquisition is subject to certain closing conditions and is expected to close by the end of FY08. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

For more on Colubris, read "Airmagnet Moves Inside Colubris," "Colubris Adds Voice Support," and "New Controllers from Colubris."

August 7, 2008

Delta Airlines announced Tuesday it will offer Wi-Fi on 330 of its flights. The airline is planning to deploy its mobile broadband network through a partnership with Aircell, a 17-year-old aviation airborne communications provider. Users will log in to Aircell's portal, called Gogo, using Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The service will cost $9.95 for flights of three hours or less and $12.95 for longer travel stints. For more details, read "Wi-Fi on the Fly: Who Really Cares?"

For more on Wi-Fi in the friendly skies, read "Wi-Fi Falls from the Sky," "2008: The Year of In-Flight Wi-Fi?," "In-Flight Wi-Fi: On and Off."

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At Black Hat, agencies including the FBI, US-CERT, and the military make the pitch for assisting in the U.S.'s fight against cybercrime and cyberwar. For more, read the full story at InternetNews.com.

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Devicescape Software today announced a new client. Honeywell is enabling its HandHeld Dolphin 7600 mobile computers, used by retail, parcel delivery, field sales, and healthcare enterprise customers, with its Devicescape agent. The addition of Devicescape means users can have real-time, two-way access to inventory and tracking systems from their HandHeld devices.

According to Devicescape, Honeywell began working with Devicescape in 2006 to include Wi-Fi in its next-generation HandHeld devices.

“Due to its portability and target market, easy detection of secure Wi-Fi hotspots is crucial for the Dolphin 7600,” said Simon Wynn, vice president of products for Devicescape in a press release today. “By adding seamless and secure Devicescape Wi-Fi capabilities to the device, Honeywell HandHeld has ensured that customers using the Dolphin 7600 can carry out system-critical tasks without fear of communication problems.”

Honeywell HandHeld licensed the Devicescape Agent with CCX (Cisco Compatibility eXtensions) technology, which means users can gain seamless, secure Wi-Fi access to Cisco-based enterprise Wi-Fi networks.

Devicescape also announced today that its Wi-Fi connection technology now offers Cisco Compatible Extensions Version 5 support.

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Wayport announced today its first camera partnership. The agreement means that the users of the new Wi-Fi-enabled Nikon COOLPIX S610c—just announced today—can share photos at the more than 10,000 Wayport hotspots nationwide (most of which are McDonald’s restaurants).

August 1, 2008

Visitors to China for the Olympics are warned that carrying smartphones, BlackBerries, or laptop computers could unwittingly mean offering up sensitive personal or business information to officials who monitor state-controlled telecommunications carriers. For more, read the Reuters report at InternetNews.com.

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U.S. federal agents have been given new powers to seize travelers' laptops and other electronic devices at the border and hold them for unspecified periods the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Under recently disclosed Department of Homeland Security policies, such seizures may be carried out without suspicion of wrongdoing, the newspaper said, quoting policies issued on July 16 by two DHS agencies. For the full story, click here.

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The Federal Communications Commission voted today to rebuke the nation's largest cable provider for slowing certain Internet traffic on its network and failing to provide adequate notice to subscribers.

By a 3-2 vote, the FCC approved an enforcement order that will require Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) to change the way it manages traffic, and submit a compliance plan to the commission by the end of the year detailing those changes. The ruling does not impose any fines.

"Comcast was delaying subscribers' downloads and blocking their uploads," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said. "It was doing so 24/7, regardless of the amount of congestion on the network or how small the file might be." Click here to read the full story at InternetNews.com.



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