Yahoo Go for Mobile

Yahoo has made its Yahoo Go for Mobile service available on devices that run Windows Mobile software, including the Motorola Q and Microsoft’s PocketPC.

Through the deal, Yahoo expects to extend the mobile service it launched earlier this year to several million more potential Windows Mobile users. Previously, it was available only to users of Nokia phones running the Symbian operating system.

Key features of the service include:

  • Yahoo! Mail — Easily manages and stores messages on mobile devices and provides receive notification for incoming mail
  • Yahoo! Search (Local, Web and Image) — Provides Local search, full Web search and Image search to view billions of pictures
  • Yahoo! Photos — Automatic upload of camera phone pictures to a Yahoo! Photos account, view and manage all albums saved on the Web account and download photos from albums directly to the mobile device
  • Yahoo! Address Book and Calendar — Easy entry, management and back-up of contacts and calendar events
  • Yahoo! News, Sports, Finance and more — Quick access to the full range of content services including Yahoo! News, Sports, Finance and Movies.

“By bringing Yahoo Go for Mobile to to Windows devices, we’re opening up the service to a whole new set of consumers,” said a Yahoo spokesperson. Windows Mobile runs mainly on high-end devices favored by professionals, including the Palm Treo, the T-Mobile MDA and the HP iPAQ, in addition to the Motorola Q and Pocket PC.

Windows Mobile comes with Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Outlook and select MSN features such as Hotmail and Messenger. Windows Media phones still represent only a fraction of the wireless market. And users have to be willing to download the Yahoo mobile software to those devices.

“For Yahoo to be successful with this application they will need to get handset manufacturers and carriers to have it embedded on the device before the customer makes a purchase,” said Weston Henderek, a wireless services analyst with research firm Current Analysis

Yahoo signed deals earlier this year with Motorola and BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion to have Yahoo Go for Mobile pre-loaded in certain of the companies’ devices. But no Motorola or RIM devices with Yahoo Go for Mobile have shipped yet.

Calif Bans WiFi Leaching

The California state Assembly on Tuesday approved new WiFi rules that will require wireless manufacturers, such as laptop makers, to instruct consumers on how to step up security measures and stop would-be piggybackers from accessing their personal networks. Assembly Bill 2415, which the governor is expected to sign, would take effect in January.

Dark Reading explains the details of California’s proposed WiFi law:

Yesterday, the California legislature passed a law (AB 2415) that takes the first steps toward outlawing wireless network piggybacking, as well as hacking into wireless LANs. The bill, which was written by Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles), has been submitted to Gov. Schwarzenegger and is expected to be signed. It will go into effect in Jan. and will apply to devices manufactured after Oct. 1, 2007.

The law will require all manufacturers of wireless access products to put warning labels on their products that remind users to password-protect their WLANs before launching them. The warnings could take place as stickers on wireless routers, notes during installation, or an alert that requires buyers to take action before the device is used.

The new legislation stops short of outlawing wireless piggybacking or hacking, but it points out that a password-protected WLAN is protected under state and federal laws against unauthorized access of computers.

“There is disagreement as to whether it is legal for someone to use another person’s WiFi connection to browse the Internet if the owner of the WiFi connection has not put a password on it,” the proposed legislation observes. However, both Section 502 of the Calif. penal code and the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act “prohibit the intentional access to a computer without authorization.”

In a nutshell, then, the law requires manufacturers to warn WLAN users of the potential for abuse, and to clearly explain to users how to password-protect them. If users take the requisite security steps, and if piggybackers or hackers then break into the WLAN, the interlopers could be subject to criminal prosecution.

The Wi-Fi Alliance, an industry trade group, initially opposed the legislation, but then swung in favor of it. Frank Hanzlik, managing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, said the options give manufacturers a “great deal of flexibility” when developing the consumer protections and are indicative of a broad best-practices policy being adopted within the industry.

“The question is, can we legislate away consumer idiocy?” said Paul Debeasi, a wireless industry analyst with the Burton Group based in Midvale, Utah. “On the face of it, it’s like cautioning the coffee drinker that the beverage is hot,” said another Wi-Fi industry analyst. “It seems like a solution in search of a problem.”

A spokeswoman for industry leader Linksys supports the legislation. Most equipment makers can comply with the law with only minimal changes to their user instructions. “Anything we can do to educate consumers about the importance of security and the risks that they are open to if they don’t utilize the tools that are provided to them, is good for the industry overall,” said Linksys spokeswoman Karen Sohl.

AT&T’s Illinois Cloud

Mayor Tim Davlin today announced he is seeking to make Springfield, Illinois, a wireless community. The City will likely partner with communication giant AT&T to build the city-wide wireless system, although the state capital is still free to choose a partner other than AT&T.

The Springfield network would cover between 25 and 30 square miles, delivered with a combination of Wi-Fi and longer-range technologies such as WiMax. The Wet Machine is not adverse to twisting the knife now that AT&T plans to build a muni wifi system for Springfield, Illinois.

Y’all remember how AT&T (under its old name SBC) launched over a hundred lobbyists into the Texas legislature to kill muni broadband in TX? How it tried to kill muni broadband in Indiana? Not just once, but twice?

Guess what? AT&T has now cut a deal to build a muni wifi system in Springfield, Il. The article quotes an AT&T spokescritter as saying that AT&T expects to close many more such deals, and will seek them out where it makes economic sense.

While I take this as the latest and most potent sign that the move to outright kill muni broadband has run out of steam, I think a note of caution is advisable as well. Some victory snark and reflections on the future challenges for both muni broadband and other forms of community-based broadband below.

I have said for awhile that corproations confronted by a serious challenge to their business model undergo their own version of the famous five stages of grief. Denial (“There’s no way this can seriously challenge us!”), anger (“How dare they challenge us like this! To the regulators to squash this at once!”), bargaining (“O.K., instead of banning it, lets regulate it to create a ‘level playing field’”), acceptance (“We are no longer going to lobby on this”), and profit seeking (“Hey, if we think about it for a minute, we can figure out how to make money on this!”)

Of course, AT&T has been “actively involved” in seeking deals to provide wireless networks in as many as a dozen cities, said Eric Shepcaro, senior vice president for AT&T Business Services. They just haven’t won any.

[Thanks, Don]

Sprint Testing Mobile TV

Selected Sprint subscribers have been invited to join trials of a mobile TV service from Sprint called VUE. Sprint has not announced this service yet, so it possible that this is just one of the carrier’s many trials of mobile TV technology.

Although Sprint has not confirmed a launch, the trials site shows both the Samsung M250 on its pages. Samsung M250 is expected to be the first phone with mobile TV, offered in the states. It resembles the Korean model but will use MediaFlo, which will also be used by Verizon in the future too

Samsung’s SPH-M250 phone has received approval from the FCC and Sprint will be the carrier of choice. The Bluetooth-capable SPH-M250 takes after a clamshell design and looks rather similar to the B250 T-DMB phone that was launched in Korea.

You can rotate the M250’s screen up to 90 degrees in landscape mode to watch video. The M250 was approved on the 1900MHz band only, most probably due to problems with the antenna when using mobile TV technology in the 2.5GHz band. Sprint will test live TV service with the SPH-M250’s release.

Qualcomm says MediaFLO benefits include:

  • Support for transmitting up to 20 streaming channels of QVGA-quality (320×240 pixels) video at up to 30 frames per second, 10 stereo audio channels (HE AAC+ parametric stereo) and up to 800 minutes of distributed Clipcast™ content per day (short-format video clips)
  • An average channel switching time of less than two seconds
  • Reduced network cost of delivering multimedia content by dramatically decreasing the number of transmitters that need to be deployed.

Sprint, as yet, has made no committment to a single mobile television technology. There are lots of potential candidates:

A key feature of mobile television is multicasting. Currently cell carriers have to dedicate one channel per user which can quickly overload network capacity. Multicasting works like broadcast television — one to many.

Multicasting in the 700 MHZ band has the advantage of cheaper infrastructure; 1-3 transmitters could cover a large city. Qualcomm’s 700 MHz MediaFLO is proprietary but available for testing now.

HighWire promises two 700 MHz channels (channel 54 & 59) and the DVB-H standard, but Townsend hasn’t walked the talk (yet). Meanwhile, Modeo (at 1.7 GHz) and Mobile WiMAX (at 2.5 GHz) need to have expensive infrastructure built.

The market for long form mobile/portable video content greater than 30 minutes is currently in an experimental phase, and will likely remain at this stage for at least two years, reports In-Stat.

By 2008, however, InStat predicts there will be over 50 million portable media players in use worldwide. The portable/mobile video market will not likely cannibalize sales from the DVD and other traditional markets, but rather, supplement top-line growth says the research firm.

While Sprint may prefer a non-proprietary mobile tv standard (like DVB-H), a pragmatic approach might utilize MediaFLO since Verizon is also on board. Modeo might be a good match with the AWS band while Sprint and Clearwire might utilize the multicasting capability of Mobile WiMAX at a later date. And who knows what Townsend is actually up to — he doesn’t confide with DailyWireless. How about selling out to DirecTV, Charlie?

Related DailyWireless articles include; Sony’s WiFi Mylo, Microsoft Plans Wireless Music Player, Zing Go the Strings, WiFi Gremlin Music Player, Mobile Shopping, WiFi TV, MediaFLO Gets Satellite Backbone, Mobile TV: The Battle is On, New Mobile TV Flavor: TDtv, Verizon Goes with FLO, Global Mobile Television, T/W, Cingular: On Demand, DVB-H Headend Software, Intel On DVB-H, U.S. Gets MobileTV via DVB-H, The 700 Mhz Club, 700 Mhz Worth $28B, The 700 Mhz FCC Auction, Winner of the Triple Play, Satphones Localize, TiVo on a Stick, Clear Channel Podcasting, Multicasting the Olympics, WiMax Handsets, Laptop Television, Sirius Portable Radio, U.S. Broadband Policy?, XM Buys 2.3GHz, Sprint Gets Sirius, MPEG-4: Satellite, Cable & Wireless, Satellite TV on Cell Phone?, Sprint Bundles EchoStar, Satellite WiFi, DirecWay Modem Shares Access, Satphones Get Giant Antennas, U.S. Cellsats and FCC Approves Big Mobile Sat.

Remote Ocean Viewer

Oregon Health & Science University has received a $19 million National Science Foundation grant to form a new ocean research center for studying coastal margins with a high-tech center in Portland.

The NSF Science and Technology Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction, or CMOP, is one of four chosen for funding this year.

The NSF Science and Technology Center for Multi-Scale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes in Boulder, Colorado, is one example of an STC.

In addition to its partnership with OHSU and UW, OSU will work with private industry on the grant, including Intel, which is helping to design the computer-based modeling systems, and Western Environmental Technology Laboratories (WET Labs) in Philomath, Ore., which will provide some of the environmental sensors.

OHSU’s OGI School of Science & Engineering and its partners, including the University of Washington and Oregon State University, are kicking in an extra $5.6 million to the effort, for a total of $24.6 million over the next five years. The NSF grant also is renewable after five years.

“CMOP is a truly unique opportunity for the Pacific Northwest, with many, many facets,” said CMOP director Antonio Baptista, Ph.D., professor and chairman of environmental and biomolecular systems at OHSU’s OGI School of Science & Engineering, where the Science and Technology Center (STC) will be based.

“We will observe, understand and predict ocean processes in exciting new ways, in particular by bringing in leading-edge advances in genomics and proteomics, said Baptista. “With companies as diverse as Intel and WET Labs, we will also explore new information-driven business opportunities”.

The 9th International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition, held August 2-6, 2006, showcased many innovative approaches. The U/Florida’s winning UAV (pdf) dragged a floating buoy with WiFi to provide engineers with real time data while it was submerged. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles can relay signals to shore.

Oregon State University, the leader in MODIS chlorophyll fluorescence research, collects data from NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. Scientists there process the data to create chlorophyll maps along with sea surface temperature.

Fluorescence occurs when plants absorb sunlight and some of that energy is given back off again as red light. Thanks to the work at Oregon State, scientists can now determine what limits the growth of ocean algae, or phytoplankton, and how this affects Earth’s climate.

CMOP will be based at OGI’s campus in Hillsboro for the next five to seven years, after which it will move with the rest of the School of Science & Engineering to OHSU’s Schnitzer Campus located on the north edge of the South Waterfront District.

Mobile technology could make emersive experiences practical. ATI’s Radeon Xpress for Core 2 laptops, for example, can drive a couple of 24″ Dell widescreen panels or HD projectors for classroom interaction.

The backbone of CMOP is SATURN, a river-to-ocean observation network that includes boats, buoys, stationary platforms, autonomous subs, ocean gliders, bottom-crawling vehicles and other exotica.

The SATURN project will continuously collect data, in real time, on everything from water temperature, water speed and salinity to levels of oxygen, organic compounds and plankton, and microbial communities.

“SATURN represents a new wave of sophisticated ocean observation and prediction systems,” Baptista said, “which will give scientists an amazing new window into physical, chemical, biological and ecological processes–just what we need to better understand and predict how our rivers, estuaries and oceans will fare under the influence of evolving climate and anthropogenic pressures”

Education geared toward populations traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering is a major focus of CMOP. The center will offer a variety of outreach programs for K-12, undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students, including science classes, apprenticeships and internships, lab tours, field trips, and science clubs.

It may be modeled on the proposed $250 million NEPTUNE Project, a planned Regional Cabled Observatory for the West Coast. The Canadian (VENUS) and US (MARS) observatory testbeds have already been funded and are now at least partially operational.

The Neptune Project will monitor the seabed off the West Coast for earthquakes and tsunamis. It may use UCSD’s OptIPuter, a switchable fiber optic network that allows huge, high resolution volumetric data sets to be shared, much like a local hard drive.

UCSD’s Laboratory for the Ocean Observatory Knowledge INtegration Grid (LOOKING) will link, via experimental wireless, optical networks, and Grid technology, a series of facilities located off the Pacific coasts of Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

Perhaps grid research could be enhanced with brainpower at the Open Source Development Lab.

Join me on a World Cruise ( to investigate global oceanographic research. Play the Globe Trekker theme! This is great news for the Northwest science community!

Of course, you could also argue that investing $250M in the Neptune Project to mitigate losses of $100B or more from a 9.0 subduction zone disaster (that WILL come), is just common sense.

Additional DailyWireless articles include Earth Day, Ring of Fire Earthquake, Crisis at NOAA, Tsunami Monitoring, Oceanographic Wireless, Oceanographic Dead Zone, Doing the Time Warp Again, Balloon Relays, Telepresence Now!, Mars and Venus Missions, Mars Dead or Alive, Tsunami Monitoring, Global Tsunami System Announced, RadarSats Image Tsunami, Tsunami Mapping, Mobile Satellite Access, Tsunami Warning Ideas, Off shore data links, the Global Grid, Earthquake First Responders, Tagging Photos with GPS, Off Shore Data Links, Inmarsat Spot Beam Satellite, Inmarsat Plans Domestic Satphone, FCC Approves Big Mobile Sat, Katrina Telecomunications Report, Coast Guard Network Tested, Global Satellite Providers Now Three, Satellite Wi-Fi, WiFi Routers for Cars, Unwired Transportation, UAVs Expand Role, Wireless Recon Airplanes, 24hr UAV Coverage, Just Say No, West Coast Grid, Grid Becomes Self-Aware, Intercepting Transoceanic Fiber and Subducting the Zone.

FCC Speeds Auction

The FCC on Tuesday accelerated the bidding in its Advanced Wireless Services auction, which has already raised almost $13.6 billion after 14 days.

The agency added two rounds of bidding per day to bring the daily total to six rounds and cut the time of each round in half to 30 minutes, an effort to complete the sale as companies vie for 1,122 licenses around the country. The auction continues until there are no new bids, withdrawals or other activity.

  • After 54 rounds, T-Mobile USA, the No. 4 U.S. wireless carrier and a unit of Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG, provisionally had the highest bids for 121 licenses with offers of $4.2 billion.
  • No. 2 wireless carrier Verizon Wireless is second in the bidding, with provisionally winning bids of $2.8 billion for four licenses.
  • A group that includes the major cable television providers and No. 3 wireless carrier Sprint Nextel is in third place based on provisionally winning bids. That group, SpectrumCo, includes Comcast, Time Warner and Cox, and has the highest bids for 133 licenses with offers of almost $2.3 billion, according to FCC data.

As of round 55, the auction had raised nearly $13.6 billion. Only about 100 of the original 1,122 licenses up for auction have not yet received any bids. The number of eligible bidders has dropped to 118, and 151 new bids were placed in round 55.

The country’s biggest cellular providers appear poised to win many of the 1,122 licenses up for auction, allowing them to expand their reach and reducing the chance that a new entrant might bring down prices, reports the NY Times.