Tech Leaders: NSA Damages Digital Economy

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) convened a roundtable on “The Impact of Mass Surveillance on the Digital Economy,” at Palo Alto High School — the same gym where the Senator held a school record of leading scorer in basketball.

Wyden, now better known as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, was flanked by executives and lawyers from some of U.S. tech’s biggest companies: Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Dropbox.

The hour-long session shifted from talk about the digital economy to the risks posed by government surveillance programs to human-to-human communications.

Wyden cited a study from Forrester Research that found that surveillance concerns could cost U.S. companies a quarter of their foreign revenue by 2016.

According to Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith:

“The fundamental issue is pretty straightforward. It’s all about trust. And it is personal to people. Just as people would not put their money in a bank they don’t trust, they will be reluctant to store their personal information in a data center or on a phone that they don’t trust. These issues have undermined people’s trust in American technology, and that’s a shame.”

“If you’re a consumer or a company, you own your email, your text messages, your photos and all the content that you create,” he said. “Even when you put your content in our data centers or on devices that we make, you still own it and you are entitled to the legal protection under our Constitution and our laws. We will not rebuild trust until our government recognizes that fundamental principle.”

Congress has been considering reforms to U.S. digital communication laws, particularly the USA FREEDOM Act. But those efforts have been slow going, reports the Washington Post. With only a bare majority of Americans opposed to U.S. government anti-terrorism surveillance, the event was likely a preview of how the issue will be framed when Congress returns to session: as a personal affront to American citizens, to U.S.-based technology entrepreneurs and to the global community.

“The simplest outcome is we’re going to end up breaking the Internet,” said Google’s Schmidt. Foreign governments, he said, are “eventually going to say, we want our own Internet in our country because we want it to work our way, and we don’t want the NSA and these other people in it.”

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said the spying scandal will continue to impact Google and other tech companies.

The impact is “severe and is getting worse,” Schmidt said. “We’re going to wind up breaking the Internet.”

LTE Direct Gets Real

LTE Direct, a new feature being added to the LTE protocol, will make it possible to bypass cell towers, notes Technology Review. Phones using LTE Direct (Qualcomm whitepaper), will be able to “talk” directly to other mobile devices as well as connect to beacons located in shops and other businesses.

The wireless technology standard is baked into the latest LTE spec, which is slated for approval this year. It could appear in phones as soon as late 2015. Devices capable of LTE Direct can interconnect up to 500 meters — far more than either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. But issues like authorisation and authentication, currently handled by the network, would need to be extended to accommodate device to device to communication without the presence of the network.

At the LTE World Summit, Thomas Henze from Deutsche Telekom AG presented some use cases of proximity services via LTE device broadcast.

Since radio to radio communications is vital for police and fire, it has been incorporated into release 12 of the LTE-A spec, due in 2015.

At Qualcomm’s Uplinq conference in San Francisco this month, the company announced that it’s helping partners including Facebook and Yahoo experiment with the technology.

Facebook is also interested in LTE Multicast which is a Broadcast TV technology. Enhanced Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services (also called E-MBMS or LTE Broadcast), uses cellular frequencies to multicast data or video to multiple users, simultaneously. This enables mobile operators to offer mobile TV without the need for additional spectrum or TV antenna and tuner.

Super Mobility Week

Meanwhile, at CTIA’s Super Mobility Week in Las Vegas last week, Ericsson launched a new small cell that integrates 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi. Ericsson’s new picocell supports 10 different bands through carrier aggregation, with two 3GPP bands (LTE and WCDMA) as well as 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Philips is offering municipalities street lights that can include small cells, and Ericsson is offering carriers the opportunity to rent space on Philips street lights for small cell installations.

CommScope camouflages cell radios in an eye-level structure that is well suited for advertising. The structure is about the size of a tall cylindrical parking meter.

RCR Wireless has posted lots of videos from the show.

Martha DeGrass interviews Derek Peterson (CTO) of Boingo Wireless at CTIA #SuperMobility Week. Derek gives his take on the Cable Operators and Wireless Carriers getting involved in WiFi.

But Dr. Martin Nuss, CTO of Vitesse Semiconductor, says the rapid growth of the BYOD market, coupled with an explosion in 4G networks and small cell deployment, is creating an IT security threat that the global market needs to urgently address, reports Fierce Wireless.

The connected car was all over CTIA’s Super Mobility Week, in Las Vegas with many booths showing vehicles and demos along with keynote addresses.

Airbiquity, a global leader in connected vehicle services, announced both Yelp and Reuters are now included in their connected car platform, Choreo.

Fifty developer teams were invited to compete in the Ford Connected Car-Connected City App Pursuit. In addition to the Ford vehicle data, hackathon participants will have access to the more than 200 data sets recently released by the City of Los Angeles (data.lacity.org) to create their apps. Ten finalists will be invited to compete in the Pursuit finals, displaying their innovations during the Connected Car Expo at the LA Auto Show, Nov. 18-20.

IDC reported that 1.25 billion smartphones were shipped in 2014 more than 23% over the previous year. Infonetics Research predicts small cell shipments will rise to 1.8 billion annually by 2018, with Japan, South Korea, the UK and US driving early adoption.

Apple iPhone 6 & Apple Watch Announced

Apple is livecasting their product announcements this morning — but not for Windows users — you’ll need a Safari browser or Apple TV to see it.

Apple is expected to unveil the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 alongside the iWatch, and will likely provide updates on iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite.

Live coverage is available at C/Net, Engadget, The Verge, MacRumors, Apple Insider, NY Times, Gizmodo, Business Week, TWIT.tv, USA Today and others.

Apple’s fall product announcements included two new iPhones running IOS-8, the iPhone 6, with a 4.7-inch Retina display at 1334 x 750 resolution, and the the iPhone 6 Plus with an even bigger 5.5-inch Retina HD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution.

The iPhone 6 Plus features optical image stabilization that compensates for hand shake in low light and works with iOS 8 to reduce subject motion. High-definition video on iPhone gets faster frame rates up to 60fps for 1080p video and 240fps for slo-mo at 720p. With second generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture, the all-new A8 chip offers faster performance and is more energy efficient. With Metal, a new graphics technology in iOS 8, developers can take performance of the A8 chip even further to bring console-class 3D games to iPhone.

The new phones do not appear to support LTE Band 12, or 700 MHz Block A. The phones support LTE Band 13 (700 MHz Upper C Block ) and LTE Band 17 (700 MHz Lower B Block), which are used by Verizon and AT&T Mobility, respectively. When there’s poor cellular reception, people will be able to make regular calls over Wi-Fi. The handoff between the two networks will be seamless. In the U.S., this feature will initially be available through T-Mobile.

iPhone 6 will cost $199 (US) for the 16GB model, $299 for the 64GB model and, for the first time, a new 128GB model for $399 with a two-year contract, while the 6 Plus will cost $299 (US) for the 16GB model, $399 for the 64GB model and $499 (US) for the new 128GB model with a two-year contract.

The new Apple Watch is a new category for Apple. It features a Digital Crown to scroll, zoom and navigate, without obstructing the display. The Digital Crown also serves as the Home button and a convenient way to access Siri. The Apple Watch starts at $349 and will be available early next year in three versions: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition, the last a premium line made of 18-karat gold.

The Retina display on Apple Watch features Force Touch, a technology that senses the difference between a tap and a press and introduces the Taptic Engine and a built-in speaker that together discreetly enable an entirely new vocabulary of alerts and notifications you can both hear and feel. Apple Watch features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair seamlessly with your iPhone.

In March Google unveiled Android Wear, their modified version of Android for wearables. The platform runs on Samsung Gear Live, LG’s G Watch, and Motorola’s Moto 360, among others.

Like the $250 Moto 360, the $350 Apple Watch features wireless inductive charging. While Apple’s watch can’t make phone calls untethered, like Samsung’s Gear S, it has a variety of unique features with the “Digital Crown” providing innovative navigation.

The market for wearable bands such as Fitbit increased 634% worldwide in the first half of 2014 compared with the first half of 2013, according to the analysis firm Canalys. Apple custom-designed its own S1 SiP (System in Package) to miniaturize an entire computer architecture onto a single chip.

Apple Pay was introduced with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. It’s an easy way to securely pay for physical goods and services in stores or apps with just the touch of a finger. Users can pay securely and conveniently in stores by simply holding the phone near the contactless reader while keeping a finger on Touch ID. It can also be used with the watch.

The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch display compared to the 5.1-inch display on the similarly priced Galaxy S5, perhaps Apple’s biggest smartphone competitor. Resolution on the smaller iPhone 6 is 1334 x 750 compared to 1920×1080 pixels on the Samsung S5.

The 5.5-inch display on the larger iPhone 6 Plus has 1920×1080 pixels, compared to 2560×1440 resolution on the 5.7-inch display on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, announced last week. The Note 4’s pixel density is 551ppi, compared to “only” 401ppi on the Apple’s 6 Plus (not that anyone could see the difference unless you have a VR hood on).

The iPhone 6 uses an A8 64-bit processor with 2 billion transistors – double that of the previous A7 and claims 25 percent faster CPU and 50 percent better graphics performance. The new M8 motion-sensing co-processor can estimate distance, track elevation, and has a barometer sensor.

No new desktops or laptops were introduced by Apple today. TechMeme has the latest posts from bloggers and news organizations.

This year, electronics vendors will ship about 175 million phablets, according to IDC, passing the 170 million laptops expected to ship during the same period. Next year, phablet shipments will top 318 million units, surpassing the 233 million tablets forecast to ship in 2015.

Intel Developer Forum Live Keynote

At the 2014 Intel Developer Forum (IDF14) Intel Chief Executive Officer, Brian Krzanich, shared Intel’s vision for the future, providing updates on Intel technologies. The live keynote started at 9Am this morning from San Francisco.

Multiple sessions will be running in tandem over the 3-day IDF event. Mega Sessions are presented by senior leaders at Intel and focus on today’s technology trends and innovations.

Topics include, Intel IoT Showcase, Intel® Galileo Gen 2 board (Quark), which combines Arduino simplicity with Intel performance, Intel Edison development platform for the Internet of Things, and dozens of other embedded devices and partnerships.

Intel formally announced their next-generation Skylake architecture which is the Tock to Broadwell’s Tick.

Volume production will take place in H2’2015, with product availability slated for later in the year.

Dualing Webcasts from Apple and Intel

Dualing webstreams are expected Tuesday, reports The Oregonian. Apple is livecasting their new line of laptops, phones and wearables — but not for Windows users — you’ll need a Safari browser or Apple TV to see it.

Forty miles north, Intel will have its own livestreaming keynote by chief executive Brian Krzanich at the big (but overshadowed) Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

Krzanich takes the stage at 9 a.m. Tuesday, an hour before Apple CEO Tim Cook begins speaking at 10 a.m. This is the second straight year that Apple has jumped in with their iPhone show on the same day.

Intel has already made a flurry of announcements leading up to its keynote, showing off a fashion-conscious smart bracelet, a tablet designed for seniors, a smartwatch development deal with Fossil and formally launching its Core M processor – the company’s first chip based on 14-nanometer circuitry.

Intel shares are up 35 percent this year, fueled by unexpected strength in PC sales, its nascent contract manufacturing business, its growing tablet business and Krzanich’s efforts to diversify into wearable technologies and “the Internet of Things.”

Tablets with Core M could be priced as low as US$699, but the initial batch of detachable tablets introduced at IFA last week are priced much higher. Lenovo’s 11.6-inch ThinkPad Helix 2 starts at $999, Dell’s 13.3-inch Latitude 13 7000 starts at $1,199, and Hewlett-Packard’s 13.3-inch Envy X2 starts at $1,049.99. Those products are expected to ship in September or October.

The new Core M processors will likely be included in Apple’s iMacs and MacBooks this year. Perhaps Apple will offer both OSX and IOS functionality in a 2-in-1 device. Unfortunately, OSX doesn’t have the touch capability of Windows 8.