Tablet Taxi at IFA

Engadget notes one of the most interesting devices at the big IFA show in Berlin isn’t a gadget at all but Samsung’s human-powered taxi, with a 10″ Galaxy Note tablet in the back seat.

It’s a slick looking rig. The Ecocab made by Veloform may have enough roof area to capture useful solar, for mobile hotspots with streaming video.

The Samsung ST200F and DV300F (with two-screens) has built-in Wi-Fi. You can stream video from an Android phone using the free IP Webcam app or use an Android-powered Galaxy camera. Smartphones are now 5x bigger than digital camera market (660 million vs 120 million units).

The Samsung Galaxy Camera has a 16.3MP sensor and runs Android 4.1. It works with VoiP apps, such as Skype, which will enable it to be used for making voice and video calls over 3G/4G or WiFi.

A solar powered pedicab might utilize SoloPower’s flexible CIGS photovoltaic modules producing over 100 watts of solar power – enough to run a mobile hotspot all-day.

SoloPower production cells achieve median conversion efficiencies in the range of 11% to 13%. A 100 amp/hr Lithium battery might provide a 2 amp load (hotspot and backhaul) for a total of 50 hours.

If a 120 watt, 12 volt solar panel outputs 7 amps, then it might put back about 50 amp/hrs in about 7 hours. Used 12 hours/day (24 a/h), the battery might be refreshed with as little as 4 hours of direct sunlight (28 a/h).

Enabling Solar Powered Projects in Haiti


Everyone can do something to help Haiti (and other countries) to develop. Everyone includes people, as well as companies… even if they are small.

— Guest Post by Sebastiano Bertani, CEO Tanaza Wireless

Three years ago Filomondo ONLUS, an organization that helps organize collaborative projects like making community wells, started a water project in Haiti, in the Mawouj Village.

Mawouj (map) can be translated with Mare Rouge and means Red Sea. The earth there is red, and when it rains you can really see the red sea: there are rivers in the street coloured like blood. When it stops raining, people have to walk very far to get the water they drink.

When the company started the waterpipe project, in 2009, no one knew that some months later the Haiti earthquake would cripple the capital, Port au Prince.

Now, after 3 years, the water project is reality: water is flowing thanks to a photovoltaic array that uses only solar energy to pump every day 15,000 gallons (60,000 liters). Mawouj can finally enjoy tap water, giving children more time to study and increasing hygienic conditions.

Most important of all, the water project is an important milestone in the long-term process of creating the culture “public service”. This concept is the base to develop a civil country.

Sebastiano Bertani, CEO of Tanaza (Tanaza.com), helped Filomondo ONLUS during these three years, as volunteer. “Now”, he stated “it’s also time to do something as a company”.

According to him, even if Tanaza is a young company, it can do its part, leveraging their disruptive technology. While many Haitian people have smartphones… most of them don’t have money to pay for mobile internet.

“We think that we can help”, said the Tanaza CEO, and we will do it Tanaza’s way: we can provide for free our solution to cloud manage 3rd party Wi-Fi Access Points. Any Wi-Fi vendor is welcome to join the cause.”

“We think that they could leverage a Wi-Fi connection and that a free wireless infrastructure could be a second good milestone in the creation of public services, in their life and in their culture.”

With free Wi-Fi they could make low cost calls as well as use it to learn how to do things: knowledge is power and with that power they could change things. Imagine a local Haitian finding out how a pump works on Wikipedia, in order to repair it!

Three years ago people said that “having water in Mare Rouge was impossible”. Now there is water in Mare Rouge. Internet would be an other great tool.

More info about the water project here: www.facebook.com/Mawouj This website is being used to create a community around water, so that Haitian people living abroad (and everybody else) will be able to donate to keep the water flowing. If you see it, we’d appreciate your LIKE!

— Sebastiano Bertani

Apple Bans Drone Strike App

Apple has rejected an app that tracks U.S. Drone Strikes, reports Wired’s Danger Room. The app sends users a pop-up notice whenever a flying robots kills someone in one of America’s many undeclared wars.

But Apple keeps blocking the Drones+ program from its App Store — and therefore, from iPhones everywhere. The Cupertino company says the content is “objectionable and crude,” according to Apple’s latest rejection letter.

It’s the third time in a month that Apple has turned Drones+ away, says Josh Begley, the program’s New York-based developer.

First, Apple called the bare-bones application that aggregates news of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia “not useful.” Then there was an issue with hiding a corporate logo. And now, there’s this crude content problem.

Begley says Drones+ doesn’t present grisly images of corpses left in the aftermath of the strikes. It just tells users when a strike has occurred, going off a publicly available database of strikes compiled by the U.K.’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which compiles media accounts of the strikes.

Since 2004 the CIA has launched more than 300 drone strikes in Pakistan.

The CIA’s targeted drone campaign in the country’s north-western Federal Administered Tribal Region is one of three clandestine theatres in the US covert war on terror, alongside Somalia and Yemen.

LTE iPhone: Game Changer?

The LTE-enabled iPhone, expected to be introduced on September 12th, may be a game-changer for Verizon, says Jefferies telecom analyst Thomas Seitz. That’s because Verizon has much broader LTE coverage.

He expects the phone may sell as many as a five million units before September ends, and another 15 million in December quarter, and that it will be “the biggest consumer product launch ever.”

Seitz says AT&T trails far behind Verizon at just 30 million “POPs” covered with LTE, while Sprint is barely in the game. By the end of 2013, the differences may be moderated — but that’s a long way off.

Seitz writes:

As of the end of 2Q12, Verizon’s LTE network covered 230 million POPs, more than all the other carriers in the US combined. We believe this network advantage could lead to a share shift towards Verizon, primarily at AT&T’s expense – which we estimate could see its market share of iPhone sales decline modestly to 45% in 3Q12 from 47% in 2Q12.

AT&T has two other factors going against it in 2H12. First, the company sold (and consequently locked in) 9 million iPhones in 3Q10 and 4Q10, and many of these customers will be coming off contract. Second, AT&T raised its prices when it introduced shared data plans.

We believe T-Mobile remains the wild card. In our analysis we are assuming that T-Mobile will not get the iPhone, since there has been no credible news to indicate otherwise. However, if T-Mobile USA were to get the new iPhone, in our view the company is likely to see its postpaid net loss moderate significantly. In this scenario, we believe Sprint could be the biggest loser.

Of course there are a lot of moving parts.

FreedomPop, for example, provides free bandwidth, with $99 iPhone sleeve cases acting as traditional access points. The MVNO is planning to switch from Clearwire’s WiMAX network to Sprint’s LTE before 2012 is over.

China will overtake the United States as the world’s biggest smartphone market this year, according to research firm IDC, which expects demand to grow for lower-priced smartphones based on Google Inc’s Android software.

IDC forecast that China’s share of the smartphone market will increase to 26.5 percent this year from 18.3 percent last year, while the U.S. share of the global market is expected to decline to 17.8 percent from 21.3 percent as smartphones become more popular, worldwide. The next iPhone is expected to work on China Mobile’s network, the largest cellular provider in the world, with close to 700 million subscribers.

By 2014, TD-LTE in the United States will be a tiny sliver compared to the Chinese and Indian market, according to Yankee Group. LTE growth in Asia is expected to leave the United States trailing far behind.

Is the iPhone 5 all about TD-LTE in China – with supplemental support for Clearwire? Probably not. China’s big growth in TD-LTE (using the 2.6 GHz band) may not get underway until 2014. The iPhone 5’s support of China Mobile’s 3G standard (TD-SCDMA) is far more significant. Still, one Qualcomm MSM 8960 chip might cover all the bases, including Sprint’s 1.9 GHz FD-LTE.

Making the iPhone 5 an LTE “world phone” would be the game changer.

LTE worldwide subscriber rolls are expected to quadruple this year and increase by a factor of 70 by 2016, according iSuppli.

NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest mobile operator, said it has reached 5 million LTE subscribers, taking less than one month to add the latest million subscribers.

Verizon has over 10 million LTE subs in the U.S., with LTE now available to more than 75% of the U.S. in 370 markets. By the end of 2012 Verizon expects their LTE network will cover 260 million people in more than 400 markets across the United States.

Rival AT&T expects to expand its LTE network, which currently covers 80 million people, to 150 million POPs by year’s end. AT&T’s LTE sub count is less clear, but may have close to 4 million LTE subs. Sprint Nextel, which has just launched FD-LTE service, expects to cover 123 million POPs with LTE by year’s end, says Fierce Wireless.

As of last quarter, Verizon had converted only 9% of its subscriber base to LTE despite having a wide lead in LTE coverage. AT&T plans to complete its LTE roll-out and be roughly on par with Verizon’s LTE coverage by the end of 2013. LTE adoption is expected to pick up after the iPhone 5 launch and strengthen in 2013.

The United States reportedly has a cumulative base of 16 million LTE subscribers, currently. That’s close to the combined total LTE subscribers in Japan and South Korea, and the adoption rate in Asia appears to be faster. Still, the total number of 4G subs is relatively tiny, compared to the vast number of 3G subscribers, world-wide.

IHS says smartphones will overtake feature phones in 2013, 2 years earlier than expected.

A Cloud-based Radio Access Network (C-RAN), where basestations are centrally located and tiny remote radio heads are connected by fiber, is expected to have a major impact on architecture, especially at higher frequencies. Like ALU’s lightRadio, Intel’s C-RAN design splits the base station from the integrated antenna/radio at the cell site.

Cloud-based radio networks could trigger a new business model – software, not hardware, runs the show. Centralized signal processing in the cloud connects to multiple antennas through Gigabit Ethernet Passive Optical Network. “Wireless cable” could deliver 20+ Mbps to fixed and mobile devices.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Wireless 2nd Quarter: Good, Indian/Asian Telecom Growth Rates, South Korea Completes Nationwide LTE Coverage, Mary Meeker: Internet Trends 2012, China Mobile + Apple: Getting Closer?, USA: 332 Million Mobiles , 4G: One Third of All Smartphones

AT&T’s Spectrum Hunt

AT&T is cobbling together about $2.6 billion in deals for airwaves to catch up with Verizon Wireless, says Bloomberg, proposing at least 24 deals in the past four months for the rights to spectrum, according to Chris King, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus.

AT&T plans to buy Verizon 700 MHz spectrum in the lower “B” and “C” block that it’s unloading as the result of the FCC approval of Verizon’s AWS spectrum purchase from cable operators.

Such a spectrum purchase by AT&T would boost their most important spectrum holdings by 62 percent in the biggest 100 U.S. markets, according to John Hodulik, a UBS AG analyst. AT&T is expected to be the top bidder for airwaves Verizon plans to sell because it will fill in gaps in the company’s spectrum holdings.

The Lower 700 A, B, and C blocks are paired 6 MHz channels. AT&T offers LTE service on B&C blocks to compete with Verizon’s nationwide chunk in the Upper 700 MHz band (also called a “C” block) which is twice as wide (12 Mhz x 2). With guard bands, AT&T’s lower 700 MHz channels are 10 MHz wide, while Verizon’s upper 700 MHz channels are 20 MHz wide.

AT&T wants to avoid the “A” block since it is close to some television channels, requires additional filtering, and would strengthen their smaller competitors by allowing roaming. Currently, AT&T’s LTE phones won’t work (or roam) on the “A” block spectrum, used by many rural carriers.

Verizon bought a nationwide footprint on the upper 700 MHz band. AT&T, in contrast, has to piece together a nationwide service using dozens, even hundreds, of regional and local 12MHZ spectrum licenses.

AT&T’s proposals, which face review by the FCC, also include a plan with Sirius XM Radio to use the “A” and “B” blocks in the 2.3 GHz spectrum, a $600 million purchase of NextWave Wireless (holding mostly the soon to be decommissioned “C” block), a deal with Comcast and Horizon Wi-Com (in the 2.3 GHz band), and a variety of smaller transactions with regional carriers.

According to AT&T’s FCC filing, the carrier would acquire between 5 and 30 MHz of WCS spectrum from NextWave Wireless in 476 cellular market areas, achieving a maximum of 30 MHz WCS spectrum. AT&T wants between 10 and 25 MHz of WCS spectrum from Comcast in 149 markets and 10 MHz of WCS spectrum from Horizon Wi-Com in 132 markets.

If AT&T gains approval for all its proposed airwave transactions, including the 700 MHz spectrum Verizon plans to sell, the company could wind up holding 55 megahertz of prime spectrum in the top U.S. markets, according to UBS’s Hodulik. This compares with the 52 megahertz held by Verizon Wireless. Of course, most people wouldn’t call 2.3 GHz, “prime spectrum” and AT&T is unlikely to buy any “A” block spectrum in the 700 MHz band.

Hodulik expects that AT&T is paying a total of less than $1 billion for the three deals with NextWave, Comcast, and Horizon Wi-Com. By deduction, that would leave some $1.6B left for the 700 MHz, “A” and “B” blocks. Verizon’s B-block spectrum on 700 MHz includes cellular markets in Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami, among others.

AT&T would need to cobble together nearly ALL the local and regional “B” & “C” licenses in the lower 700 MHz band to even achieve parity with Verizon, which has twice the spectrum in their nationwide “C” block. Worse, AT&T has virtually no AWS spectrum (1.7/2.1 GHz). Verizon now owns AWS spectrum for LTE expansion nationwide.

A few more B block licenses on the 700 MHz band and a problematic 2.3 GHz band won’t give AT&T air superiority over Verizon.

The FCC will hear from opponents as it reviews AT&T’s proposals. Smaller regional operators have raised concerns along with industry watchdogs that the transactions will hurt competition.

That’s “a heck of a lot of beachfront property,” said Steven Berry, president of Rural Cellular Association, a Washington-based trade group whose members include T-Mobile, a unit of Bonn-based Deutsche Telekom.

It will prevent small and rural carriers from having access to airwaves, Caressa Bennet, general counsel of the Rural Telecommunications Group, a Washington-based trade group for wireless carriers who each serve fewer than 100,000 subscribers.

Samsung Windows Phone 8 Announced

Just days after losing its intellectual property court battle with Apple, Samsung has become the first vendor to announce a Windows Phone 8 smartphone. The Samsung ATIV S has a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen, 8MP camera, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, a choice of 16GB and 32GB storage and a brushed aluminium case.

The company made the announcement at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, beating Microsoft partner Nokia as the first company to launch a Windows Phone 8-powered smartphone.

The Finnish company is reportedly launching its first device in conjunction with US number-one operator Verizon Wireless next week.

AT&T has been Microsoft’s lead partner for Nokia devices. Microsoft, Nokia and AT&T will take the wraps off two new Lumia handsets — codenamed “Arrow” and “Phi” for which AT&T will be the main carrier — on September 5.

Windows Phone 8 might be officially “launched” on October 29, a few days after the launch of Windows 8 on October 26, with devices coming a few weeks later.

Samsung also announced its new Android-powered Galaxy Note 2 smartphone – which features a 5.5 inch screen and S Pen stylus – and the Galaxy Camera, also based on the Jelly Bean version of Android.

The Galaxy Camera is like an Android smartphone inside a camera, minus the calling features. It features 3G/4G and Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can instantly post to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more without having to hook up the camera to a PC and transfer shots.

Speaking to Reuters, Sid Parakh, an analyst at investment firm McAdams Wright Ragen said that Samsung didn’t previously put its best teams and designs with Windows Phone due to the dominance of Android. “With the change in the legal environment, there’s a case to be made that Samsung will likely shift some of those resources to broaden out or diversify their own exposure,” he said.

Verizon has only released one Windows Phone device to date, the Trophy from HTC, which debuted last year to a lukewarm reception. It is now expected to offer a Nokia-made device powered by Windows Phone 8, in order to provide an alternative to Apple’s iPhone and devices powered by Google’s Android.

Nokia is already working with AT&T, offering Windows Phone devices like the LTE-enabled Lumia 900. It is also offering lower-tier devices with T-Mobile USA.

Among the new features that will be part of Windows Phone 8 are an update to the tiled user interface, multicore support, NFC/Wallet support, removable Micro SD card storage, encryption and secure boot. Existing Windows Phone devices will not get the new OS, but will get the new UI, via a Windows Phone 7.8 refresh.