Nexus 5 Available Now

Google’s Nexus 5 with KitKat is available today starting at $349 at the Google Play store.

The Nexus 5 is a fully unlocked device, priced at $349 with no contract for the base 16GB model. The 32GB is $399, and both are available in white and black. It will work across a wide array of carriers — in the US, it will work on everything except Verizon.

The LG-made Nexus 5 features a 5-inch 1080p HD screen, runs Android 4.4 on a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU with Adreno 330 graphics. The 8-megapixel camera and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera have many key improvements. It now features a small gyroscope in the lens for optical image stabilization. The camera also has HDR+, which fuses together several exposures, as well as burst shots, to make one ideal image.

The 4.95-inch Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display is the biggest Nexus screen yet. Like its competitors, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, the Nexus 5’s touch screen has a 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution and 445ppi. In contrast, the previous Nexus had a 1,280×768-pixel resolution with just 320 ppi.

The Nexus 5’s screen beats the iPhone 5s in both size and resolution. The iPhone 5s has a 4-inch screen with 1,136-by-640-pixels and 326 pixel density while the Nexus 5 has a 4.95-inch screen with a 1,920-by-1,080 pixel resolution and a 445 pixel density.

HTC One and Galaxy S-4 use a Snapdragon 600, a generation behind, while the Motorola’s Moto X uses an X8, based on last year’s Snapdragon S4 Pro.

Google says KitKat delivers a smarter, more immersive Android experience to more platforms that will include some lower end models with only 512 Megs of RAM. Swipe once from the home screen to get Google Now. You say “OK, Google” to launch voice search, send a text, get directions or play a song. And in the coming weeks, they’re enhancing Now with new card types that bring you information about contextual topics.

Android 4.4, KitKat, which comes on Nexus 5, will also soon be available on Nexus 4, 7, 10, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks. It also introduces a new, open architecture for NFC payments that works with any mobile carrier, and lets apps manage your payment information in the cloud or on your device.

A new wireless charger is compatible with the new Nexus 5 and this year’s Nexus 7. Presumably, it will charge any Qi-compatible device, including last year’s Nexus 4. The new Google phone has dual-band Wi-Fi with a/b/g/n/ac support and Wi-Fi Direct.

The Nexus 5 will be tri-band enabled on Sprint’s 850, 1900 and 2500 MHz spectrum with a software update in early 2014. A 3G/4G LTE mobile hotspot capability will support up to eight Wi-Fi enabled devices. Sprint has priced the 16GB Nexus 5 at a whopping $449.99 off contract, but the same phone from Google Play have no problem working on its network.

Nexus 5 is available today, unlocked and without a contract, on Google Play in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea (and coming soon to India), starting at $349. It will be available soon at Sprint, T-Mobile, Amazon, Best Buy and RadioShack.

FAA Eases Restrictions on In-Flight Electronics

The FAA has finally eased restrictions on in-flight electronics. According to new information posted to the FAA website (factsheet), fliers will now be able to use electronic devices for much of the flight, in some cases even during takeoff and landings. Talking on cellphones is still forbidden, but using WiFi on smartphones is now mostly okay beneath 10,000 feet.

Until now flight attendants tell passengers to turn off all cell phones, computers, e-readers once the cabin door is closed, and leave them off until the plane reaches 10,000 feet. Meanwhile commercial aircraft commonly provide in-cabin WiFi throughout a flight.

There will still be some restrictions. Voice communications will remain off limits, and users may still be required to place electronics in the seat-front pocket during takeoffs and landings to avoid the devices becoming projectiles during turbulence.

Without the anticipated revenue from older aircraft phones, a growing consumer demand for in-flight Wi-Fi, and with cockpit iPads becoming commonplace replacing paper charts and manuals, the move to allow consumer electronics has long been anticipated.

The new policies are expected to be implemented sometime before the end of the year.

Verizon used to offer Airfone, which allowed passengers to make telephone calls in-flight. Airfone phone calls were expensive compared to ground-based telephone calls, costing $3.99 per call and $4.99 per minute in 2006. It was something of a profit center, but used inefficient technology.

In May and June 2006, the frequencies over which Airfone operated were sold at auction by the FCC to two new license holders, and Verizon received a non-renewable license until 2010. Gogo was awarded the FCC’s exclusive Air-To-Ground (ATG) 3Ghz broadband frequency license in 2006. LiveTV, an affiliate of JetBlue, acquired about 1/3 of the original Airfone bandwidth from the FCC.

Similarly, hospitals banned cellphones due to concerns about safety (and revenue from pricey landline service). Today few, if any, hospitals have retained the earlier blanket bans on cell phones, as nurses and attendants use them regularly.

Wheeler New FCC Chair

The Senate late Tuesday unanimously confirmed Tom Wheeler to be the next FCC chairman. It also unanimously confirmed Michael O’Rielly, a staffer for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), as one of the two Republican commissioners on the five-member panel. He will fill the vacant seat left by Republican FCC commissioner Robert McDowell.

The confirmation vote was delayed for two weeks by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who had placed a hold on Wheeler’s nomination over concerns with answers Wheeler had given on whether the FCC will require more disclosures from the sponsors of political advertisements.

According to The Hill, Cruz lifted the hold after Wheeler told him during a private meeting Tuesday that stricter disclosure requirements for the donors behind political TV ads are “not a priority” for him.

The commission has been led since this spring by Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, a Democratic commissioner, following the resignation of former Chairman Julius Genachowski.

Sprint Spark: 50-60 Mbps

Sprint today outlined its plans for ultra high speed mobile wireless under the brand Sprint Spark, with speeds of 50-60 megabits per second. It is being rolled out initially in five cities: Los Angeles, Tampa, Miami, Chicago and New York and enables handsets and devices to seamlessly roam from LTE networks in the 850 MHz, 1.9 MHz and 2.5 GHz band.

Sprint’s Spark-enabled smartphones are tri-band devices, and support active hand-off between 800MHz, 1.9GHz and 2.5GHz. They include the HTC One max, LG G2, Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy Mega.

Hotspots that are already Sprint Spark-compatible include Netgear Zing Mobile, MiFi 500 LTE by Novatel and Netgear 341U USB Modem.

Sprint is using carrier aggregation and Time Division for increased capacity at 2.6 GHz and MIMO for better coverage. The 850 and 1900 MHz bands fill in.

Sprint says its new multi-band LTE service will be available to 200 million people by the end of 2013 and about 250 million people by mid-2014. Sprint introduced its all-new FD-LTE network on the 1.9 GHz band in July 2012 and now offers service in 230 LTE markets.

Sprint is using 8 transmit, 8 receive technology (8T8R) for better coverage at 2.5 GHz. Today, the carrier uses a 2T2R backbone. In addition, Sprint is using MIMO on its consumer devices with up to 4 receivers and 2 transmitters to get more bits through the same amount of air.

For its Spark 8×8 Band 41 deployment, Sprint has gone with Alcatel-Lucent, NSN, and Samsung for high capacity TD-LTE. Each company will service approximately one-third of Sprint’s deployment markets. These 2.5GHz radios are expected to be the first deployment of 8T8R cell sites in North America.

Sprint Spark uses carrier aggregation on the 2.5 GHz band, combining two 20 MHz channels for 40 MHz by the middle of next year. By the end of 2015 Sprint will use a total of 60 MHz of spectrum (20 x 3). That’s when you may see up to 1 Gbps of throughput.

Sprint demoed 1 GBp/s in its lab today, with Samsung streaming four simultaneous 4K video streams to four TVs with the meter hitting 1,025 Mbps.

The applications for 1Gbps mobile are pretty limited. Sprint’s major commitment to 8×8 MIMO, carrier aggregation, and consumer devices with 4X2 MIMO indicate a strong interest in delivering fixed broadband and (perhaps) “wireless cable” as well as the usual mobile applications.

The time may be right to provide a little competition to cable and IPTV via Verizon’s FIOs (5 million subs) and AT&T’s Uverse (4.5 million subs).

Perhaps the rumor that Intel will sell their settop business to Verizon was just a strategic leak. Intel’s new LTE chip, the XMM 7160 works on 15 global LTE bands and supports voice-over-LTE (VoLTE).

Aereo could even provide a wireless link to TV broadcasts. Wouldn’t that be ironic?

Related Dailywireless articles include; AT&T’s U-verse Goes Mobile, What is LTE-Advanced?, Small Cells, Big Deal, Video Dominates Mobile, Aereo Wins Court Battle with Broadcasters, LTE Broadcast Mobilizes at MWC, H.265 Gets Real, Aereo Vs LTE Broadcast: Fight!, Mobile Video on Diet with Social Graph, Intel: Basestation in the Cloud, China Mobile Awards Contracts for TD-LTE, London: The Biggest Small Network in the World, AT&T: 40,000 Small Cells, Softbank & Sprint Do a Deal, WiMax Forum Embraces TD-LTE, Small Cell, Big Growth, Sprint to use LightRadio for Small Cells, Alcatel-Lucent: Small Cell lightRadio, DIAL: Smart TV App Browses for Movies, Mobile: The New Television, Verizon & AT&T Launch Targeted Advertising CBS Helps Launch Dish Hopper with Sling, What is Miracast?,Mobile TV at NAB 2012, Mobile TV Handsets: Two Flavors,

Li-Fi: LEDs Do 10Gbit/s

UK researchers say they have achieved data transmission speeds of 10Gbit/s via “li-fi” – wireless internet connectivity using light. The researchers used a micro-LED to transmit 3.5Gbit/s via each of the three primary colours – red, green, blue – combined that makes over 10Gbit/s.

Li-fi, or “light fidelity”, promises to be cheaper and more energy-efficient than existing wireless radio systems given the ubiquity of LED bulbs and the fact that lighting infrastructure is already in place. The tiny micro-LED bulbs, developed by the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, allow streams of light to be beamed in parallel. Using OFDM digital modulation the micro-LEDs handle millions of changes in light intensity per second.

Such a technique could one day work with existing light bulbs, promising higher speeds than current WiFi and increased security — since visible light can’t penetrate solid objects like walls, says Engadget.

Meanwhile, a Stanford startup has created a circuit and algorithm that cancels interference, allowing incoming and outgoing signals to utilize the same frequency, according to MIT’s Technology Review.

DARPA has begun development of a wireless communications link that is capable of 100 gigabits per second over a range of 200 kilometers (124mi), reports Extreme Tech. Officially dubbed “100 Gb/s RF Backbone” (or 100G for short), the program will provide the US military with networks that are around 500 times faster than its current wireless links.

How do they do it? One government report writer I talked to said GE has stumbled on a semiconductor process that enables breakthrough speed.

FCC Orders Lower 700 MHz Interoperability

The FCC on Monday formally adopted an agreement by AT&T, Dish Network and other wireless companies to give smaller operators access to devices now made only for AT&T’s airwaves.

AT&T uses the “B” and “C” Blocks of the lower 700 MHz band. The “A” block, at the bottom of the 700 MHz band, adjoins the current UHF television broadcast band and the high-powered “E” block, originally conceived for regional broadcasting of mobile TV. As a consequence, the “A” block was less ideal. It was often acquired by smaller regional carriers who had neither the money to bid against AT&T, nor an interference issue from adjoining television stations.

Both AT&T and Verizon denied roaming agreements for regional carriers using the “A” block. The duopoly (which also denied any roaming between themselves), argued that interoperability with the “A” block would require more expensive handsets to suppress potential interference from TV stations.

Apple’s handsets, for one example, work on AT&T and Verizon spectrum, but not A Block spectrum used by smaller companies like C Spire and U.S. Cellular. Without support by popular handsets or roaming capability, regional carriers became isolated, offering only “islands” of service in the “A” block. Without interoperability, the value of regional carriers diminished. Now the FCC is mandating that all phones that work within band class 12 be made to work over Block A as well as Block B and C.

The interoperability issue is somewhat complex because different bands have different power requirements, explains Fierce Wireless. The reason for having different power profiles is to avoid interfering with adjoining services.

The four different band classes within 700 MHz include class 12, 13, 14 and 17. FCC commissioners this week unanimously approved technical rules for the Band 14, the 700 MHz broadband spectrum licensed to FirstNet, allowing the commission to certify devices for sale to first-responders. Verizon acquired most of its spectrum in band class 13, while many of AT&T’s 700 MHz licenses sit in the lower C and B Blocks (class 17). A number of smaller operators acquired 700 MHz spectrum licenses in the Lower A Block, but AT&T defined the B and C Blocks as a class onto themselves due to “interference”.

Some believed the strategy of the duopoly was simply to starve out the regional carriers by restricting their roaming capability, then buy back their spectrum — cheap.

It could have worked.

FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn would have none of that. She pushed for and succeeded in getting an agreement between rural carriers and the duopoly, to enable devices to interoperate in the lower 700 megahertz band.

The FCC found that “interference from adjacent Channel 51 operations is unlikely to disturb B and C Block operations and finds that these concerns are not an impediment to achieving interoperability.”

The Order also makes changes for various E Block licensees in the Lower 700 MHz band. The high powered “E” Block, which could use effective radiated power of 50,000 watts, was also problematic for “A” band users.

In announcing the ruling, Clyburn praised the collaborative efforts by AT&T, consumer advocacy groups, the Competitive Carriers Association and Dish, which helped smaller wireless carriers negotiate the interoperability deal with AT&T.

Dish filed a proposal last month with the FCC to allow it to deploy LTE across its 700 MHz E Block and AWS-4 spectrum. Dish said that now it currently plans to “deploy an LTE network similar to what 700 MHz Lower A, B, C, and D block operators have deployed today.”

Presumably, Dish would use LTE Broadcast, which multicasts video and data over local LTE antennas.

As part of today’s agreement, Dish promised to lower the power in the unpaired E block that it owns to reduce the possibility of interference with AT&T’s adjoining frequencies. Both the D and E blocks in the lower 700 MHz band were originally designed for high-power mobile TV technologies like Qualcomm’s MediaFLO.

In return for its promise to lower power, Dish gets more time and flexibility in building out the networks in that block of airwaves.

To sweeten the deal, Dish told the FCC that if the agency gives its nod to all of the company’s requests, it would invest $1.56 billion in the upcoming auction of so-called H block frequencies, scheduled for January.

The “H” block frequency is adjacent to Sprint’s “G” block where they currently offer FD-LTE in the PCS band. Sprint has said that the adjacent Dish AWS band could interfere with any “H” block service. Whether or not Dish and Sprint have come to some agreement over the “H” block is still unknown.

Sprint today said it now offers LTE in 230 markets across the US, using FD-LTE in their 5 MHz x 2 “G” block.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Dish: Lower 700MHz Power Ups Speculation, AT&T and Verizon: No 700 MHz Interoperability For You!, AT&T Competitors: No 700MHz Roaming, FCC Announces H Block Auction, Dish Won’t Bid on H Block Spectrum, AT&T Buying Leap Wireless (Cricket), FCC Limits Dish on LTE Terrestrial Spectrum, Dish: On the Move, Dish and Sprint Battle over PCS band Extension, FCC Approves 2.3 GHz for AT&T, AT&T Likely to Get 2.3 GHz, Sprint’s Dish Compromise, Nexus 4 Deals for Voice/Data, MetroPCS Merges with T-Mobile USA,