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Airline broadband turns three – with new services and pricing

January 19, 2006 Though the internet seems to have been with us for an eternity, the world’s first broadband internet service on a commercial airliner had just its third birthday this week. It was on January 15, 2003 that passengers flying aboard a Lufthansa 747-400 first sampled Boeing’s Connexion high-speed internet service. The new service enabled what we’d long dreamed of (or dreaded, depending on your point of view) – seamless, real-time communications, with the speed and quality characteristic of a modern office environment, including Internet access, audio, video, e-mail, VOIP and intranet access. Connexion ushered in the New Year by announcing new pricing and service enhancements for its real-time high-speed Internet and entertainment services to airline passengers in flight. The service enhancements include an expanded delivery of four channels of live global television to airlines that offer the Connexion by Boeing service, and implementation of Yahoo! as the exclusive search engine on the service's portal used by passengers on flights to access the Internet and email. The bargain of the new pricing is a 24-hour price of US$26.95 including connecting flights within 24 hours of sign-in.  Read More

Samsung demonstrates 3.6 Mbps HSDPA Phone

January 15, 2006 Samsung used the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month to highlight its expertise in High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) technology by demonstrating speeds up to 3.6 Mbps. Although there have been several demonstrations of speeds up to 1.8 Mbps in the past, Samsung's demonstration of HSDPA handset speeds of 3.6 Mbps is the industry's first ever. A 3.6 Mbps HSDPA handset allows users to download content much faster than either a WCDMA or GSM/GPRS network. HSDPA, a new form of mobile broadband, is capable of transmitting data at speeds up to seven times faster than that of WCDMA. Users can enjoy large-scale multimedia downloads, such as DVD-quality movies and interactive multimedia games, with high-speed wireless Internet access comparable to speeds of fixed-line ADSL services.  Read More

CES 2006: Kyocera Strobe Messaging Phone

January 6, 2006 Kyocera Wireless unveiled its new Strobe wireless handset at the Consumer Electronics Show today. The Strobe features a curved candy-bar design that opens lengthwise to reveal a second colour display and a full QWERTY keyboard inside, making it ideal for text messaging, email and instant messaging (IM). In consumer testing, the Strobe has apparently drawn rave reviews from younger demographics, impressed by its IM-enhancing keyboard, digital camera and other features and an expected price-point below other similarly featured devices on the market. Strobe is expected to launch at CDMA carriers globally in Q2 2006.  Read More

HALO Collaboration Studio - a new dimension to real-time communications

December 13, 2005 Technology struck another blow against the tyranny of distance yesterday when a first-of-its-kind collaboration studio for simulating face-to-face business meetings across long distances was debuted. The new HP Halo Collaboration Studio is a precisely-designed broadcast solution that enables remote teams to communicate in real time in a face-to-face environment. Participants can see each other in life-size images projected on three studio-quality displays with no perceived latency, regardless of how far apart the teams may be. Halo allows for interactivity between teams and enhances business connections while visually reinforcing the sense that meeting participants are in the same room. The product of yet another cross-pollonation of perspectives, Halo Collaboration Studio came to life in a partnership between Hewlett Packard and DreamWorks Animation SKG. While we’d love to say it’s available at a price affordable by every home, that’s still some way off. In smaller quantities, the rooms are approximately US$550,000 each, and pricing falls as the same company purchases more rooms. In the United States and most global business centers, the network and service fee is US$18,000 monthly per room. This fee varies in other countries depending on local telecommunications costs.  Read More

GLOOLABS demonstrates the missing link

November 7, 2005 We rate GlooLabs and its Java-based GlooNet “one of the most likely to succeed” in the mobile space – the Java-based GlooNet allows digital media (music, images, files etc) stored on a home computer to be accessed remotely through any Internet-enabled computer, mobile phone, or PDA. That was before last week’s announcement that global technology giant Siemens has invested in GlooLabs, enabling GlooLabs to expand its product portfolio and ramp-up operations for large-scale customer deployments. Seamless access to personal media and other data has become ultra important in the fast converging computing and home entertainment environments and GlooLabs' architectural approach overcomes the current gap of desktop- and browser-based solutions by allowing end users to retrieve media files stored on various mobile devices and view or play them on any other connected device. GlooLabs' modular platform enables fixed line operators, wireless operators, handset and set top box manufacturers to rapidly bring a wide variety of new products and services to market under their own brand. A public GlooNet demonstration site is available here.  Read More

Automatic payments surpass cheques

October 28, 2005 Automatic payments have for the first time surpassed cheque writing as the dominant method for paying recurring bills, according to the results of a MasterCard International consumer research study. The 2005 MasterCard Recurring Payments Awareness, Behavior & Attitude study showed that more than two thirds of U.S. households (67 percent) now pay some recurring bills automatically compared to those writing cheques (64 percent). Nearly four in ten households link payments automatically to a credit card (38 percent) and three in ten households charge them automatically to a debit card (31 percent). In addition, among automatic bill paying households, the number of bills paid automatically rose in the last five years, from an average of 3.1 bills per household in 2000 to 4.4 bills today. During the same period, the number of cheques written declined by nearly 50 percent, from 4.4 to 2.4 among these households.  Read More

Internet advertising continues to boom

October 28, 2005 The Internet juggernaut continues to roll and gather pace as evidenced by the 26% growth of Advertising Revenues for the first six months of 2005 over the first half of 2004. Internet advertising revenues for the first six months of 2005 were approximately US$5.8 billion, a new record. Similarly, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is continuing to grow with an Australian chapter today being added to the existing 17 countries and pending IABs in Russia, Columbia and Brazil.  Read More

Broadband solution for the high seas

Wireless communications and technology has become one the fastest growing and most universally adopted service products in history. The global wireless subscriber base passed 2 billion last month and is expected to pass 3 billion in 2010. Yet, with all of the growth, ubiquity and connectivity, one wireless marketplace remains virtually untapped: the open seas. SeaMobile is a new venture launched in 2005 to focus on enabling wireless phones and computers to work at sea. SeaMobile uses scalable, flexible and IP/software based technology to create a user experience that is optimal for private yacht owners, cruise ships, ferries, offshore platforms, container ships and any other sea-going craft. Coverage can include the entire ship or select areas to enable “quiet zones”. The technology enables people to use their own cellular phones and Wi-Fi enabled computers transparently while anywhere at sea with charges for use of the system appearing on customers’ regular monthly bill.  Read More

Linksys CIT200 Cordless Phone offers free Skype calls

October 12, 2005 Cisco subsidiary Linksys and VOIP software company Skype today announced a global relationship that will include marketing a new cordless phone that takes free Skype Internet phone calling off the computer and puts it into the hands of callers. The new Internet Telephony Kit (CIT200) provides callers with a convenient alternative to making free Skype calls while sat at their computer, giving them the freedom to make free Skype calls wherever they are in the home or office. The CIT200 is the first Skype-enabled product bundled with a Skype starter pack. The CIT200 will be available from 17 October from more than 3,000 online and high street retailers throughout North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  Read More

CTIA WIRELESS I.T. & Entertainment 2005

October 2, 2005 San Francisco Gizmag's Dave Weinstein visited the CTIA WIRELESS I.T. & Entertainment 2005 show in San Francisco this year to get a look at the new wireless devices that we'd be seeing in 2006. Overall, there were a few gadgets that we were really impressed by, but it wasn't the cornucopia of camera phones, super devices, and uber-gizmos that we'd hoped. Here's an overview of what Dave found.  Read More

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