Pocket Supercomputer

Amazon Wants To Buy WebOS; That Could Mean Kindle Phones, PCs Too, says Paid Content.

A report in VentureBeat says HP is currently looking to rid itself of Palm and Amazon may be the closest to finalizing a deal. It may be about the patents. Apple and Microsoft led a $4.5 billion purchase of patents from Nortel, while Google paid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility, a holder of more than 17,000 patents.

The Kindle Fire is powered by Android, but it’s been heavily customized by Amazon. Kindle Fire includes a cloud-accelerated “split browser” called Amazon Silk. Its frontend is based on the WebKit browser engine, which is also used by the webOS web browser.

WebOS is a mobile operating system based on a Linux kernel, initially developed by Palm. It was later acquired by Hewlett-Packard. By purchasing the remnants of Palm, Amazon would have free rein to further differentiate its Kindle devices from the slew of Android tablets in the market, says Venture Beat.

HP paid $1.2 billion for Palm in 2010, but Amazon will end up spending a fraction of that if the deal goes through. Perhaps Tizen, the Linux-based, open-source software platform, has the right stuff. And the right price.

Is “cloud computing” a new paradigm?

It’s not about surfing the web. Think Tricorder, brain augmentation, Cyborg-like super powers.

Fire is a pocket supercomputer.

The Tricorder X Prize is a $10 million prize to develop a mobile solution that can diagnose patients better than or equal to a panel of board certified physicians.

What Amazon needs more than anything else is fast, cheap, reliable broadband. Google, Apple, Microsoft and Intel probably do too. Clearwire has the spectrum.

Let’s get this show on the road.

iPhone: The Big Launch

Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to unveil at least one new iPhone model next week at a press conference to be held at the company’s Cupertino, California campus.

Apple will launch its next-generation iPhone 5 in five initial markets on October 14th according to a new report from Macotakara.

They report that Apple will release the new device in the United States, the U.K., Germany, Japan and France on that date, with launches in additional markets to follow. The date aligns closely with earlier comments from France Telecom CEO Stéphane Richard, who said the iPhone 5 would launch from Orange on October 15th, a Saturday.

Whether it will have LTE, larger displays, NFC payments, and other features such as voice dialing is hotly debated. Manufacturer Foxconn is said to be making 150,000 iPhone 5 models a day.

Apple may sell 110 million iPhones in 2012, a faster pace than this year, according to Mike Abramsky, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Toronto. Apple’s total iPhone user base may reach 100 million users by the end of 2011, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty.

RBC estimates that Apple will sell 70 million iPhones in the 2011 calendar year — 19% of the estimated global smartphone market. Apple revised its total expected iPhone sales for the second half of 2011 up from 50 million to 56 million units.

Ten Incher from Amazon for Holidays?

The Kindle Fire, introduced Wednesday, was the first color Android tablet from Amazon. But it probably won’t be the last. Already there’s a rumor that the 10″ version could be released before the end of 2011, in time for the holiday shopping season. No word on the cost of the 10″ tablet, but it’s rumored to use the Nvidia’s 4-core Kal-El chip for peppier video performance.

The Kindle Fire, which retails for $199, won’t be available until November 15th. The Fire is limited to 8GB internal storage, doesn’t have expandable storage such as a SD card slot, or cameras.

DigiTimes reports that Taiwanese equipment maker Foxconn could have the contract to build a new 10 inch tablet for Amazon.

Foxconn has been a long-term contractor for Amazon’s Kindle e-book readers, and market watchers had expected the company to also land orders for 7-inch Kindle Fire tablets, but it has been busily working on iPads for Apple, so the contract for the 7″ Fire went to Quanta.

In other tablet news, Huawei’s new 7 inch MediaPad may be coming to T-Mobile, reports Lilliputing. TmoNews says the tablet features a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core processor and Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system. It has a 7 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS display, 16GB of storage and a 4100mAh battery. The Huawei tablet could be priced as low as $199.99 with a two year agreement.

Today Samsung announced a new 7″ tablet, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, an Android 3.2 (Honeycomb)-based tablet comes with a 7-inch display and 1.2GHz dual-core processor. Samsung’s new 7″ tablet features 802.11n, HSPA+ support, 16GB and 32GB memory, and a microSD slot.

It compliments their 7.7-inch tablet, with the company’s Super AMOLED Plus display, as well as their 8.9-inch tablet and new, thinner 10.1-inch tablet.

The original 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tab featured a 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 (“Hummingbird”) processor, a 3.2 MP rear-facing camera and a 1.3 MP front-facing camera, and Android 2.2.

Apple’s patent-related legal actions blocked sales of Galaxy Tab 10.1 models in Germany and hit Samsung’s phones as well. Lawyers for Samsung on Friday offered Apple a deal on their patent dispute that could allow the Korean company to launch its Galaxy Tab 10.1 device in Australia. If accepted by Apple, Australia could see the tablet’s launch next week, Samsung’s attorney David Catterns told Dow Jones Newswires.

New High Capacity Satellites for North America

QuetzSat-1, a 20-kilowatt all Ku-band communications satellite, was launched yesterday from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan by International Launch Services. The huge broadcast television satellite will provide high power Direct-To-Home (DTH) services to Mexico, North America, and Central America for EchoStar (Dish).

The satellite, built by Space Systems/Loral, deployed its solar arrays early this morning. It is now performing maneuvers in space, getting ready for commercial service in a few months. Tomorrow, it will begin the first of several thruster firings to maneuver into geosynchronous orbit. The satellite was bought by SES, which has a fleet of 49 geostationary satellites.

Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer of SES, said, “We expect this satellite to provide top quality, reliable DTH services for our customer EchoStar.”

QuetzSat-1 is SS/L’s sixth 20-kilowatt satellite to be placed into orbit. It is based on the 1300 space-proven platform, which has a long history of reliability. With this launch, there are 65 SS/L-built 1300 satellites currently on orbit.

Next up: the high throughput broadband internet satellite built for ViaSat (above). ViaSat-1 is scheduled for launch in mid October.

ViaSat-1 is expected to provide satellite internet access at 10 Mbps to approximately 1.5 million subscribers in North America. The all Ka-band satellite uses multiple spot beams and frequency reuse to maximize capacity in North America. ViaSat-1 arrived last week at the Baikonur, where it will be launched by ILS.

ViaSat-1 will be much faster than anything previously offered in the satellite industry. With 140 Gbps total throughput capacity, it is expected to transform the quality of satellite broadband. The $400 million satellite is scheduled to blast off from a launch site in Kazakhstan next month.

WildBlue Communications is ViaSat’s two-way satellite Internet service provider subdivision, serving over 400,000 subscribers within the 48 contiguous United States. The new ViaSat-1 will feature 72 spot beams, with 63 in the U.S. and nine in Canada. U.S. coverage is generally along the West Coast and east of the Texas panhandle.

Unlike Lightsquared, which uses the 1.6 GHz Mobile Satellite Spectrum, ViaSat-1 is not designed for mobile satellite phones. Instead ViaSat-1 uses the much higher frequency Ka band (20/30 GHz). Small dishes provide the two-way 10 Mbps connection to the spot-beam satellite.

Currently Hughes uses the Spaceway-3 satellite for internet access. It competes with ViaSat’s WildBlue satellite. HughesNet, which is what EchoStar is buying, was formerly known as DirecWay. News Corp spun off the two-way satellite business when it bought DirecTV. The HughesNet JUPITER satellite is the mirror image of ViaSat-1, and due to launch in the first half of 2012.

Both ViaSat-1 and HughesNet’s Jupiter are expected to provide satellite internet access up to 10 Mbps in the United States by the summer of 2012.

Related DailyWireless Space and Satellite News includes; Lightsquared: A Hardware Solution, EchoStar Closes $2B Hughes Deal, EchoStar to Buy Hughes, Charlie’s Big Play , FCC Green Lights Lightsquared, LightSquared: In Trouble?, Lightsquared Unfurled, MetroPCS Eyes TerreStar, SkyTerra 1 Launched, Broadband Satellites: Black Hole?, MSS: Stuck in Space, Satellite with 328 ft Antenna to Launch, LightSquared Announces LTE Network, FCC Okays Terrestrial LTE for SkyTerra, TerreStar Successfully Launched, AT&T/TerreStar Ready Satphone Service, TerreStar Phones Home, TerreStar’s 60 Ft Antenna Deployed in Space, TerreStar Successfully Launched , Eutelsat Launches Ka Band Internet Satellite, O3B: Funded for Launch, Satphones Maneuver, WildBlue: $30M, Shovel-ready,

Italian 4G Auction Raises EUR 3.95B

Telecom Italia and Vodafone were the biggest spenders in Italy’s 4G/LTE spectrum auctions, which closed yesterday raising EUR3.95 billion for the government. The figure was considerably beyond the government’s top forecast of EUR3.1 billion.

All four of the country’s main operators – Telecom Italia, Vodafone Italy, VimpelCom’s Wind and Hutchison-owned 3 Italia – acquired spectrum, reports Dow Jones Newswires, though 3 Italia was the only one to miss out on bandwidth in the valuable 800MHz band.

Telecom Italia and Vodafone each spent EUR1.26 billion in the auction for two blocks of 800MHz, one block of 1800MHz, and three blocks of 2600MHz.

Wind paid EUR1.1 billion for two blocks of 800MHz band and four blocks of 2600MHz, while 3 Italia paid EUR305 million for one block of 1800 MHz and four blocks of 2600MHz. But 3 Italia didn’t get any 800 MHz, which is the most valuable since it has the longest range.

Italy’s Industry minister Paolo Romani described the EUR3.95 billion windfall for the government as an “extraordinary” outcome and promised to use the additional proceeds to ramp up investment in Italy’s telecoms and tech sectors.

The “Digital Italy Plan” is the government’s major initiative, which includes the “National Broadband Plan” and the “National Plan for Next Generation Networks”. In 2009 the Government announced a project aimed at providing 95.6 per cent of the population with up to 20 Mbps broadband. The remaining 4.4 per cent in areas with low population density are to be covered with up to 2 Mbps using wireless broadband technologies.

Vodafone will extend mobile broadband coverage to cover as many 1000 Italian villages and towns over the next two years. About 1,800 Italian villages are estimated to lack access to high-speed Internet.

Softband Mobile Goes TD-LTE

Delegates of 24 operators from Asia, Europe, America, Oceania and Africa attended the 2nd Global TD-LTE Initiative in Munich, to focus on TD-LTE technology. Around 40 attendees used the commercial and pre-commercial TD-LTE USB dongles provided by Huawei, ZTE and NSN with indoor TD-LTE coverage.

Softbank, Japan’s third-largest mobile carrier and exclusive purveyor of the Apple iPhone in the country, announced today it will launch in November a wireless network capabile of 110 Mbps, faster than many wired connections provide today, using “TD-LTE compatible” technology. Softbank will deploy LTE TDD compatible AXGP technology (pdf), in parts of Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka.

Softbank Mobile is currently the sole carrier of the iPhone in Japan, but CDMA-based KDDI is expected to start offering the phone early next year. NTT Docomo, the largest wireless provider in Japan, also offers Docomo’s Xi LTE service with downlinks up to 75 Mbps using FD-LTE. KDDI announced they will move from WiMAX to LTE as well.

The new “Softbank 4G” network will initially be available via portable modems, with the company aiming to have the country’s main populations centers covered by April 2013. It will be compatible with a growing TD-LTE standard that media reports say Apple will support, meaning that future iPhones on Softbank’s network could have access to the blazing download speeds.

Japan’s No.3 mobile phone operator is partnering with China Mobile, Vodafone, India’s Bharti Airtel and others to promote a Global TD-LTE Initiative for a next generation “mobile broadband” standard. It’s the same standard promoted by Clearwire.

Softbank Mobile executive VP Ted Matsumoto told telecomasia.net earlier that the company could deploy TD-LTE in the 2.5GHz spectrum that it gained access to when it bought a stake in failing PHS operator Willcom. But he said Willcom’s next-gen PHS technology, XGP technology was “very much like TD, or at least is compatible with TD-LTE.”

NTT Docomo, the largest cellular carrier in Japan, launched LTE more than 6 months ago and is testing LTE-Advanced . Japan’s second-biggest mobile carrier, CDMA-based KDDI, with 33 million subscribers, plans to offer LTE service by December 2012, using Samsung gear.

KDDI affiliate UQ Communications currently provides Mobile WiMAX service in Japan. UQ is hoping to have 2 million WiMAX subscribers by end-2012. UQ WiMAX subscriber count reached one million on June 15, 2011. UQ has installed thousands of ZTE Pico basestations for coverage indoors and out, even in Tokyo subways.

UQ’s WiMax provided internet access after the devastating tsunami.

UQ Communications and Samsung announced the world’s first WiMAX 2 field trial near Tokyo, earlier this year. They demonstrated 100Mbps speeds using 802.16m, which is fully backward compatible with 802.16. GCT Semiconductor has a WiMAX 2 (802.16m) single-chip solution, supporting a 4×4 (MIMO), 150 Mbps downlink and 50 Mbps uplink.