Wi-Fi Product Watch, October 2009

By Wi-Fi Planet Staff

October 26, 2009

Free Wi-Fi on Virgin America flights; Movie Wedge helps portable movie viewing; good news, Fido--there's an app for that; two new HP Mini netbooks froom Verizon; more airlines add Wi-Fi; Epson Artisan 810 All-in-One Printer reviewed; 50 free apps for mobile business users; and more.

The skies just got a little friendlier. Thanks to a partnership between Google and Virgin America airlines, free Wi-Fi will be available in-flight on every Virgin America flight serving certain destinations on both coasts between November 10, 2009 and January 15, 2010. For a map of the cities served by free Wi-Fi Virgin flights, click here.

For more on in-flight Wi-Fi, read:

October 22, 2009

If you've ever wished your iPod touch, Sony PSP, BlackBerry or other mobile media device were easier to watch movies or other video content on, you're in luck! No, they haven't grown bigger screens or fold out legs, but if you're willing to shell out $9.95 plus shipping and handling, you can have your very own bean bag to prop your device up on.

The WedgeWorks: MovieWedge's media materials boast that it is a "versatile stand that works with a wide variety of portable media devices; holds mobile devices in place on uneven and unsteady surfaces; and is compatible with virtually any case or enclosure your device is in."

This thing is compatible with a variety of handhelds the way bean bags are compatible with a variety of asses.

Check it out at the MovieWedge Web site.

**

Feeling lonely when your companion goes off to work every day? Frustration, tension, or anxiety getting you down? Feeling the need to chew, growl, or vandalize? Good news, Fido: there's an app for that.

Pet Acoustics has released its Pet Accoustics app for iPhone and iPod touch ($1.99). The app features, "music specifically designed for the hearing sensitivities of your pet to calm and soothe your pet anytime, anywhere," according to a press release issued today.

Not just any music, these tunes have been selected based on frequency, volume, and rhythm to suit the sensitive ears of dogs, cats, and horses. According to the Pet Accoustics Web site, the songs reduce stress, aggression, and anxiety in pets. The app includes multiple timers so that pet owners can set music to play while they are away, sleeping, or otherwise occupied. The company recommends its app not just for private home use, but also for pros dealing with pets in stressful environments, such as grooming, boarding, or training. 

Also available soon, a holiday-themed mix CD for pets ($14.99 available 10/30/09 at Amazon.com).

**

One new HP netbook is now available from Verizon Wireless, with another coming next month.

The HP Mini 311-1037NR ($349.99 with contract), available now, and the HP Mini 110-1046NR ($299.99), available mid-November run on Windows 7 and offer integrated 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. Verizon is offering $100 mail-in rebates on both.

Subscribers to Verizon's pricey Wireless GlobalAccess mobile broadband service plan can use the netbooks' integrated 3G in "more than 185 destinations worldwide."

More details on pricing and specifications at the Verizon Web site.

October 19, 2009

German airline Lufthansa announced Monday that it would re-launch its in-flight Wi-Fi service, FlyNet.

Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG said in a statement at the Lufthansa Web site, “With the FlyNet re-launch, we are taking the lead in in-flight connectivity.”

With the re-launch, Lufthansa isn’t so much setting the pace as joining the pack. Many commercial airlines in the United States began offering limited Wi-Fi service last year. Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, AirTran Airways, and Virgin America are among those that have partnered with Gogo (Aircell). Other airlines, such as Southwest, are opting for Row 44, a satellite provider of in-flight wireless Internet.

Other international carriers have also gotten on board the Wi-Fi plane. Dublin-based Ryanair, for example, offers wireless e-mail, SMS, and even VoIP calling on some of its flights. The service is provided by OnAir, a Swiss provider. Air France-KLM and Australian carrier Qantas have also beta-tested in-flight Wi-Fi.

Private carriers are also seeing Wi-Fi as a must-have amenity for business travelers. Dassault Falcon, a subsidiary of France-based Dassault Aviation, has taken the lead and expects to be the first business aircraft manufacturer to offer deployment of the Aircell system on its full fleet of business jets.

For the rest of the story, click here.

**

Review: Epson Artisan 810

MSRP: $299.99

Pros: Wi-Fi capability; print from iPhone; sleek design; easy to set up and use; fast print speed; great print quality; automatic duplex printing; color fax; two-year warranty

Cons: Bulky design; price

The Epson Artisan 810 ($299.99 MSRP) is a multifunction device (MFD) that packs a great deal of functionality into one. It prints, scans, faxes, copies, and even charges a cell phone or MP3 player. It features built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet, a 7.8-inch LCD smart touch panel, and image enhancement tools. It supports printing and scanning over a wireless network and Apple’s iPhone, and lets users share the printer among multiple computers.

Read the full review here.

October 9, 2009

If your work has you out of the office more than you're in it, you know the value of tools that help you stay in touch. With the iPhone by your side, you don't need to haul a laptop everywhere you go.

In this collection of apps, you'll find tools for getting work done on the road, keeping in touch with co-workers, and getting quick information. Best of all, every app in this list is free.

That means you can try them out at no risk: keep the ones that help your business and delete the others. Your work is crucial, and a free iPhone app is a top-notch assistant.

Peruse our list of 50 Free iPhone Apps for Road Warriors here.

**

Hoping your new iPod touch will give you the mobile gaming experience you've been dreaming about? It's more likely to deliver a nightmare, says avid gamer Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. Read why he thinks gaming on these Apple devices stinks.

**

At the end of September, Palm released the first major update to its mobile platform webOS, an upgrade that includes support for paid apps in the Palm Catalog store and over-the-air downloads from Amazon's MP3 Store.

Also noteworthy in Palm's webOS 1.2 is what's missing--the ability for the Palm Pre to sync directly with Apple's iTunes software. For more details, click here.

**

As promised, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced its Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n test program this month without upsetting the industry's artfully-balanced apple cart. Maintaining 802.11n draft 2.0 requirements as Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n "core technology" made it possible to auto-promote hundreds of previously-tested products, Wi-Fi Alliance executive director Edgar Figueroa told Wi-Fi Planet. As a result, consumers can now rest assured that draft 2.0 investments (including 90% of laptops purchased last year) won't need to be upgraded or replaced with new Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n gear.

Of course, the final standard ratified by the IEEE includes many capabilities not fully-baked two years ago when the draft 2.0 snapshot was taken. Since then, draft 2.0 products have included a dizzying number of option permutations, making it hard for consumers to weed through geek-speak to purchase compatible combos.

To simplify that process, the Alliance also announced a new pair of tag lines—"CERTIFIED dual stream n" and "CERTIFIED multi-stream n"—backed by test programs and detailed matrices. Wi-Fi products—including those auto-promoted to "CERTIFIED n"—cannot wear these new tag lines unless and until they pass corresponding interoperability tests, said Figueroa. This strikes a careful (but perhaps not entirely successful) balance between stability and innovation, complexity and clarity.

Read the full story here.

**

AT&T's effort to color Google a hypocrite on Net neutrality has won some supporters on Capitol Hill, with a bipartisan group of 20 members of the House attaching their names to a letter calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to open an investigation into Google's voice application.

The lawmakers, who represent largely rural districts, asked FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to open the probe in response to Google's policy of restricting calls in certain rural areas on its Google Voice mobile application.

Google has explained that the restrictions stem from the steep rates some local carriers charge long-distance providers to route calls in their coverage areas, and justified its policy under the law because it is not a regulated phone company.

Under the common carrier laws that govern phone companies, long-distance providers, such as AT&T are obligated to connect the calls. AT&T has complained that local providers charge excessive rates for the connections, and that they partner with services, including conference call centers and adult chat lines, to funnel more traffic to their networks, further gouging the larger phone companies.

For more, read the full story at InternetNews.com.



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