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Telecommunications

Kenya kickstarts multi-billion-dollar Konza Tech City

The Kenyan government intends to spend a reported US$14.5 billion on the creation of Konza Technology City or "Silicon Savanna," which Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki hopes will become Africa's answer to Silicon Valley. Recently underway, the ambitious venture will see the construction of a brand new city on 20 sq km (7.7 sq miles) of what is currently natural savanna, 70 km (43 miles) southeast of Nairobi.Read More

UrbanHello aims to make the home phone cool again

Many of today's telecomms users find that their conversational needs are more than satisfied by smartphones, yet most still have a home phone connected to a landline. The latter has received something of a modern make-over at the hands of UrbanHello, a new startup founded in Paris, France by Hervé Artus and Catherine Seys. The appropriately-named Home Phone has simultaneously launched at CES 2013 and on Kickstarter.Read More

Researchers promise doubled wireless spectrum efficiency

Wireless carriers love to talk about a Spectrum Crunch. Like oil, wireless spectrum is a finite resource. Companies like AT&T warn that smartphone proliferation is eventually going to leave those "wells" dry. Carriers' answers to the problem usually involve government (less regulations, and more federally-owned spectrum released). However, researchers at U.C. Riverside have another solution: make those networks more efficient.Read More

US Federal Trade Commission offers US$50K prize for blocking robocalls

In the United States, about 30 billion robocalls (pre-recorded automatically dialed solicitations) are placed each year, and similar conditions hold across much of the world. In the U.S. and many other countries, most commercial robocalls are illegal. As part of an ongoing campaign against these illegal robocalls, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is launching its Robocall Challenge, seeking a solution that blocks illegal robocalls on cell phones and on landlines. It is offering a US$50,000 cash prize for the best practical solution. Read More

New power amplifier design could double smartphone battery life

Cell phones have come a long way in terms of battery life, but lets be honest, there's still plenty of room for improvement. The very fact that we talk about using a phone for eight hours as being good is, well, bad. While next-gen battery technologies present one solution to the dilemma, a new breakthrough from MIT spinoff Eta Devices takes a different tack – by improving power amplifier efficiency the company hopes to double the battery life of smartphones.Read More

CORDIS plans to "beam" people to meetings

In recent years, telepresence systems have become more common. Unfortunately, most of them are little more than a videophone on top of a motorized stick. The EU Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) wants to change that, by developing a system called “beaming.” When fully developed, it should reportedly provide telepresence so real that for the operator and the people at the other end, it will be like the person is actually there. Read More

Ceefax says goodbye after 38 years

The BBC’s Ceefax text service closed down yesterday after 38 years on the air. The world’s first teletext information service, Ceefax began broadcasting in 1974 and provided everyone from insomniacs to prime ministers with the latest headlines and sports scores at a time when the alternative was waiting for the next news broadcast. Now, as the BBC switches from analog to digital broadcasting, the low-resolution service has been retired for good.Read More

A look inside Google's data centers

Last week, a post on Google's official blog announced a project that allows users to step inside the private world of its data centers. For the first time, the company's impressive efficiency records and green ethos have been given a face in the form of the stunning photographs by Connie Zhou and the Street View-able hallways of the Lenoir facility in North Carolina.Read More

Beam me up, Scottie – Suitable Technologies' new remote presence system

Suitable Technologies has revealed the Beam remote presence system, which boasts a 17-inch LCD display and reliable wireless connection thanks to four Wi-Fi radios. The same group previously developed a remote presence system called the Texai at Willow Garage, which you may recall seeing on an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Suitable Technologies was created specifically to refine the Texai and market it – the result was the Beam.Read More

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