WiFi in Dubai

TECOM Investments has announced a new deal with du, the UAE telecoms operator, to offer a WiFi service in public areas of Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Knowledge Village starting this April.

To begin with the new WiFi coverage will include food courts, lobbies and select offices and villas, but TECOM intends to extend this until it’s available in all outdoor public spaces within the free zone clusters.

Du already has WiFi installations in Starbucks outlets in the Dubai free zones, and more at Dubai Festival City, Times Square Centre and the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The $199 iPhone?

AT&T is planning to cut the price of Apple’s new iPhone to $199, say a variety of news reports. According to Fortune:

AT&T is preparing to subsidize $200 of the cost of a new iPhone, bringing the price down to $199 for customers who sign two-year contracts, the source says. Apple is expected to have two versions of the new iPhone, an 8-gigabyte-memory and a 16-gigabyte-memory model with price tags widely expected to be $399 and $499.

AT&T and Apple declined to comment.

At $200, the iPhone would be within reach of a much wider consumer market and give AT&T a strong magnet to pull lucrative customers away from rivals like Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile. The $200 rebate or subsidy would be limited to AT&T customers and not available through Apple’s stores. The new iPhone sold by AT&T will likely be locked or programmed so buyers can’t take the cheaper iPhone to another phone service.

In other news, the Associated Press has signed a deal with mobile video vendor Transpera to power the AP’s Mobile News Network.

Transpera will be used for the AP’s Mobile News Network, scheduled to launch later this quarter, the first product of the AP’s Digital Cooperative, a program from AP members designed to find ways to distribute news over new-media platforms.

In addition to providing technology for video delivery, Transpera will help advertisers reach mobile users through banner, pre-roll and post-roll ads. Cellular provider Alltel has uses Transpera for their Social Video service, which is available for $3 per month. It allows subscribers to access, rate and share videos from popular Web destinations such as Break.com, AtomFilms and GrindTV.com.

YouTube is also extending their offerings to wireless. Other user-generated mobile video startups including Mywaves, Eyespot, 4thMedia, Mojungle and Zannel.

Inexpensive Wifi devices (like the iPhone), just might bring municipal wireless networks back from the dead — they’re used outdoors, they’re mobile, they’re Wi-Fi enabled. What’s not to like?

iPhones are already a huge factor in most municipal wireless networks. MIDs and UMPCs, arriving later this year, will add fuel to the fire. Perhaps municipal WiFi was just a little ahead of its time.

This development is going to be fun to watch. You unlock this door with the key of imagination.

Virtual Border Fence: Not Dead Yet

A $20 million, 28-mile prototype ‘virtual’ fence built by Boeing, and developed to thwart illegal immigration along the Mexico-U.S. border hasn’t met border control agents’ needs, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported.

However, the federal government has no plans to scrap the program as recently reported by the mainstream press, said Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Laura Keehner.

The towers — the backbone of the test project known as Project 28 — have been operational for about three months but have failed to meet expectations since going up in summer 2007. But, “It would be wrong to conclude that the federal government is scrapping the virtual fence,” said Keehner.

The P-28 virtual fence project uses a series of electronic, wireless devices to detect movement along the 28-mile stretch near Tuscon, Ariz. The GAO said its main shortcoming is the lapse time between the electronic detection of individuals illegally crossing the border and the data reaching hand-held devices and border-control personnel.

Wayne Esser, Boeing’s director of strategic development for the Secure Border Initiative program that developed the fence, said the prototype uses off-the-shelf hardware and software to track illegal immigration activities. It currently consists of communication technologies that include sensors and radar systems housed on a series of mobile towers. The data then are transmitted over a restricted, wireless network to border-control agents, he said.

“Part of the problem was that the [technologies] were put in on a temporary basis, and so we didn’t put up the full communications system. We used a slower satellite system because of the costs and timing because we would not have been able to meet the schedule if we tried to put up the full system,” Esser said.

“We’re not using the cellular networks because, in most of the [rural area] along the border, there just aren’t any,” Esser said. “We looked at it and talked to several of the major cell-phone operators to look at the economics of actually using cellular and installing it—and it’s just not there.”

The next phase of the system that includes the erection of fixed towers as well as microwave communication systems and will be deployed in late summer, Esser said.

GovTech reviews Chicago’s new Crime Prevention Information Center (CPIC). A gunshot detection system recognizes and tapes the sound of gunfire and alerts the center’s staff, providing a street address through triangulation. The ultimate goal of a fusion center is to prevent terrorist attacks and to respond to natural disasters instantaneously (video).

In the first phase of Washington DC’s camera system about 4,500 cameras will be focused on schools, public housing, traffic and government buildings.

New York has hundreds of cameras scanning Lower Manhattan, watching tunnels, bridges, and the thousands of cars and people that move through the country’s financial hub. The implementation of the plan, called the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, will require about $90 million and cost about $8 million a year to maintain.

Dailywireless has more on the Secure Border Initiative and Chicago Networks 3000 Cameras.

Motorola Mobile WiMAX in Thailand

Motorola is working with Advanced Info Service (AIS), the largest mobile operator in Thailand, to conduct trials of mobile WiMAX. The trials will enable AIS to gain insight into the next generation personal wireless broadband services.

AIS started trials over Motorola’s WiMAX Access Point-400 (WAP-400) platform in Bangkok and Lamlukka in the first quarter of 2008. The operator is studying performance of real-life applications over the mobile WiMAX network, and customer usage models in metropolitan, suburban and rural areas.

AIS is Thailand’s largest GSM mobile phone operator with 23 million customers as of 2007. AIS sees WiMAX as complementary to its existing fixed line and wireless offerings. AIS believes WiMAX is an effective replacement for ADSL in cities and suburban areas.

Motorola currently has 19 contracts for WiMAX 802.16e deployments and is involved in 80 WiMAX engagements with customers in more than 40 countries around the world.

Google Ocean

First it was Google Earth. Then Google Sky. Next up: Google Ocean, says CNet.

The company assembled an advisory group of oceanography experts from institutions around the world to the Mountain View, Calif., Googleplex, says C/Net. There, they discussed plans for creating a 3D oceanographic map, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The tool–for now called Google Ocean–is expected to be similar to other 3D online mapping applications. People will be able to see the underwater topography, called bathymetry; search for particular spots or attractions; and navigate through the digital environment by zooming and panning. Blog Runner has more links on the topic.

Asked to comment on Google Ocean, a Google spokeswoman said the company had “nothing to announce right now.”

Oceanography researchers, however, say such a tool would be incredibly useful.

“There is no real terrain or depth model for the ocean in Google Earth,” said Tim Haverland, a geospatial application developer at the Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “You can’t get in a submarine and in essence fly through the water and explore ocean canyons yet.”

Google Ocean will feature a basic layer that shows the depth of the sea floor and will serve as a spatial framework for additional data, sources said.

Additional data will be displayed as overlying layers that depict phenomena like weather patterns, currents, temperatures, shipwrecks, coral reefs, and algae blooms, much like the National Park Service and NASA provide additional data for Google Earth and Google Sky.

The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) of Columbia University has created high-resolution sun-shaded images as well as digital elevation models covering the entire global ocean. It allows for interactivity similar to Google Earth through zooming in and out and by tilting the planet’s surface.

In other news, Google has turned Street Views, the virtual street level tours, from a fun diversion to a useful feature by combining them with driving directions.

The new features mean that when you’re searching for driving directions in one of the 42 U.S. cities that have Street View images, you can now preview each intersection in your route.

And for gamers…MapWii lets you choose Wii game players by proximity, decreasing latency. First you pick a country, then a sublevel (state in the U.S.). The site has been up for some time, but geo location matters for game players, too.

Additional DailyWireless articles include The Platform, Underwater MIMO, Remote Ocean Viewer, Earth Day, HiSeasNet Goes Live, Supercomputer 07, Ring of Fire Earthquakes, Intel’s Rural Connectivity Project, Visualizing the Future, iGrid 2005, Big Science Projects, Supercomputer Cells, Oceanographic Dead Zone, Earth Simulator, and Subducting The Zone.

India 2nd Largest Mobile Market

India’s 12 wireless operators signed up a record 10.16 million new subscribers in March, bringing the total customer base to 261.09 million.

According to Unstrung, that made India the second largest wireless market in the world, overtaking the U.S. with its 258 million subscribers. China is by far the largest market, with a subscriber base of 574.63 million by the end of March.

India had 165.11 million wireless subscribers a year ago, and in 2007 it ranked as the country with the second largest growth in mobile subscribers after China, according to Light Reading’s report on the fastest growing emerging markets newly published today.

Top 10 Emerging Markets by Mobile Subscriber Growth

Ranking Country Subscriber Additions in 2007 (in millions) Total Subscribers Dec 2007 (in millions) % increase over Dec 2006 2006 ranking
1 China 86.22 547.3 18.7 2
2 India 84.01 233.63 56.15 1
3 Indonesia 29.31 92.94 46.06 5
4 Pakistan 28.59 76.88 59.2 3
5 Brazil 21.06 120.98 21.08 7
6 Russia 20.95 172.87 13.79 4
7 Vietnam 12.68 35.18 56.33 10
8 Bangladesh 12.61 34.37 57.95 8
9 Iran 12.43 28.51 77.3
10 Egypt 12.06 30.07 67.02
Total 319.92 1372.73 25.03
Source: National regulator statistics

Numbers for Indonesia, Russia, Vietnam, and Iran are based on company data

According to Wikipedia:

The scarcity of GPS-enabled handsets in GSM-dominated Europe meant that early Location Based Service deployments there were largely based on Cell-ID location, plus some niche markets addressed by GPS-enabled Bluetooth peripherals,” says industry analyst Jamie Moss.

“High accuracy location based services are becoming increasingly available to all as GPS chipsets are being added to WCDMA devices in Europe and Asia.” ABI Research forecasts that up to 38% of all handsets shipped annually will feature integrated GPS by the end of 2013.