Mobile Hot Spots


Motion Technology announced the launch of the onBoard Mobile Gateway, the industry’s first in-vehicle 3G-based wireless HotSpot. The onBoard Mobile Gateway is really an 802.11b hotspot with a cellular backbone. The ruggedized wireless platform combining the mobility of third generation (3G) cellular data networks with the ease and ubiquity of Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) resulting in seamless connectivity to the Internet for vehicle passengers.

Designed specifically for use in challenging vehicular environments, such as buses, streetcars or light rail, the patent-pending onBoard Mobile Gateway and associated service management software creates a sophisticated passenger area network. This wireless passenger area network allows in-transit professionals to use their own off-the-shelf, WiFi-equipped notebook computers and personal digital assistants (PDAs) to web browse, check email and instant messaging as well as use virtual private networks (VPNs) and corporate collaboration software in exactly the same manner they do at home and in the office.

“By creating a proprietary, accelerated bridge between 3G and WiFi, our objective is to allow WiFi-centric consumers to seamlessly benefit from the newly deployed 3G cellular data network while traveling in vehicles,” said Kirk Moir, President and CEO, for In Motion Technology.

It’s not a new idea. UCSD’s Cybershuttle uses Wi-Fi Inside and Qualcomm’s EV-DO for the backhaul. Amtrak Wi-Fi uses a satellite backbone. Navy Seals use autonomous aircraft. The ultimate Electronic Field Trip.

Wireless Game Adapters


Wireless Gaming Adapters are suddenly all the rage. They work with X-Box or Playstation 2s and use 802.11b to connect the box to DSL or cable modems. They plug into a product’s Ethernet port and let the product go wireless.

The two CenDyne products, one targeting Xbox, the other for PlayStation 2, cost $99 each and are described at 802.Planet.

Tim Higgins describes wireless game adapters from Linksys, the WGA-11b and WGA-54g. The WGA11B and WGA54G are available immediately at street prices as low as $59 and $97 respectively.

Both adapters can connect directly via AdHoc mode for direct console-to-console connection, or support Infrastructure connection to a wireless access point or router for Internet gaming.

TI + Radia


Tim Higgins reports Texas Instruments announced late today that it has acquired fabless RF semiconductor company Radia Communications. TI and Radia previously partnered to develop reference designs for TI’s TNETW1130-based 802.11b/g and 802.11a/b/g products that are Wi-Fi CERTIFIED and part of the Wi-Fi Alliance’s 802.11g test bed.

TI says the acquisition will help it develope multiple 802.11 radio standards on a single chip. Radia will become part of TI’s Broadband Communications Group.

AudioPad


Wired reports on the Audiopad, a futuristic tool for composing live electronic music, developed by James Patten and Ben Recht.

The colorful, dynamic, interactive “mixing” console is projected onto a flat table top.

Based on Patten’s earlier Sensetable, the table-top computer interface is similar to the Korg Kaoss Pad, a finger-controlled musical effects processor. Users move checker-like pieces around the board. They have a passive wire coil that is read by an inductor in the table to determine the “pucks” location. “Hot spots” on the table open new options while movements of the pucks can change volume, balance, pitch, etc.

Perhaps the interface would also be useful in coordinating, directing or monitoring hundreds (or thousands) of wireless users. Mousing over a “flash map” pop-ups info. The inductive puck might be used in big screen projections, too.

I smell a grant!

BTW, Microsoft researchers and their university partners exhibited some of their projects recently. They include a data glove that “spells” sign language on a computer and “Robie the Robot” who attends meetings for you.

Sounds like R.O.B (Robot Operating Buddy), and B.O.B (Brains On Board), developed twenty years ago by Nolan Bushnell.

Wireless VOD


On2 Technologies on Wednesday announced a deal to integrate its newest VP6 codec into video-on-demand (VOD) systems built by PERFECTV.

On2, which already has licensing deals with America Online, Sony and Intel, will create systems that deliver high-quality VOD programming to consumer television sets. PERFECTV uses network peering and firewall negotiation technologies to deliver video and live video conferencing a standard home broadband connection.

On2’s new VP6 Encoder features improvements in the real-time live encoding quality and improvements to the quality on video sections with slow pans, zooms, and tracking shots by as much as 25 percent.

Subscription VOD is hot. Cable and Satellite companies are bundling PVRs for downloading movies.

CinemaNow holds the exclusive Internet distribution rights to the most extensive and comprehensive library of feature films available on-demand via the Internet and private broadband networks. Its film library contains over 3,000 feature-length films from more than 125 licensors, including 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., MGM, and others. CinemaNow’s PatchBay, a proprietary video-on-demand content distribution and management system is available as a licensable technology solution. Consumers can view the films for free (advertising supported), pay-per-view, and by subscription. Consumers have a choice four streaming rates, ranging from 56 kbps to 700 kbps.

Microsoft’s MSN, is considering the launch of free, advertising-supported broadband services, including audio and video packages that could rival Yahoo Platinum and RealNetworks’ RealOne. AOL 9.0 Optimized includes an expanded video library, full-screen theater viewing, a new Media Player with minimal-to-no buffering, and the ability to share video clips via instant messages and e-mail. Perhaps fee-based VOD movie downloads from T/W could be next.

But Cable Modems are too congested (and business conflicted), DSL is too slow and cellular-based EV-DO is too expensive to effectively deliver video on demand.

Neighborhood wireless broadband is just right.

The Asia Pacific region will boast 555 million TV households by 2010, an increase of 116 million since 1995. Asia also has the largest broadband subscriber base and more multiplayer gamers than anywhere else in the world. Sony’s “cell” multiplayer console (above) will likely enhance their leadership.

MPEG-4, multi-lingual programming from the West Coast Grid could be distributed to 2/3rds the world’s population, uplinked from the TxVision teleport in Hawaii. Hawaii’s footprint connects to two-thirds of the world’s population in China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and India.