Google I/O Announcements

There were so many new things announced at Google I/O opening keynote yesterday, it’s hard to keep track of them. Let’s review the stories from C/Net, Engadget, The Verge, Android Authority, ComputerWorld, GigaOm, and TechCrunch.

Engadget has a recap of the announcements:

    Android

Google Play

Google+

Google Maps

Misc.

PC Magazine has The 10 Most Exciting Things Google Announced at I/O.

Google I/O Live Today

Google I/O kicks off with a three-hour-long keynote address Wednesday morning. Here’s the live Google I/O 2013 Keynote.

Among the rumored announcements are a new Google Maps interface, Bluetooth 4.0 support for the Nexus 4, tracking sensors, new subscription music services and Google Glass apps.

According to a blog post from Google, the company will begin streaming content from Google Developers LIVE and Google I/O 13 at 9 a.m. on May 15th, and conclude at 7 p.m. on May 16th.

Live coverage is also available from C/Net, Engadget, The Verge, Android Authority, PhoneArena, TechHive, ComputerWorld, GigaOm, and TechCrunch.

Netflix Dominates Streaming Services

The future will see “real-time entertainment” dominate fixed access networks, accounting for two-thirds of total data usage in 2018, driven largely by ubiquitous integration between smart TVs, set-tops, game consoles and streaming services,” according to market researcher Sandvine. “Web Browsing will continue be the second-largest source of traffic, partly driven by the number of mobile devices at use in the home.”

According to a survey (pdf) released Tuesday by Sandvine, Netflix has 32.3 percent of the “real-time entertainment” market share, while YouTube has 17.1 percent, Hulu has 2.4 percent, and Amazon has 1.31 percent. Those numbers haven’t changed much since last year.

“Maintaining its status as the dominant traffic category in the region, Real-Time Entertainment is responsible for over 68 percent of downstream bytes during peak period, compared with 65 percent six months ago,” Sandvine wrote in its report. “Netflix continues to be the unchallenged leader for traffic, accounting for 32.3 percent of downstream traffic during peak period.”

Google Fiber to Gladstone, Missouri

Gladstone, Missouri is the next city to get Google Fiber. Google announced Fiber would be coming to the nearby town of Shawnee, Kansas on May 3rd, and now has Sprint’s headquarters in Overland Park virually surrounded.

Google also added Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah, to its Fiber-enabled communities in the past two months. Will they close the loop later this week at Google I/O?

Mobile Phones Equal World Population

Next month we will reach the milestone where the number of active Mobile devices is equal to the number of people in the world, says Zahid Ghadialy in the 3G and 4G Wireless Blog.

There are many people with more than one active mobile device and there are others who have no devices so it is believed the number of active devices will keep rising for some time to come.

Nearly 75% of all smartphones sold in Q1 were Android, with Samsung at 30%, according to the latest Q1 2013 findings from Gartner.

Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled nearly 426 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a slight increase of 0.7 percent from the same period last year, says Gartner. About half those were smartphones.

AT&T is pulling the plug on the “Facebook phone”, an anonymous source told the Boy Genius Report.

According to their source, AT&T sold fewer than 15,000 units of the HTC First nationwide through last week when the phone’s price was slashed to $0.99.

In other news, BlackBerry 10.1 is now available for the BlackBerry Z10. BlackBerry 10.1 is a free update that will be rolling out with carrier partners over the coming weeks. Among other things the BlackBerry Hub has added support for PIN to PIN messages for direct communication between BlackBerry smartphones.

New Zealand Installing 3,000 WiFi Phone Booths

Ruckus Wireless today announced that it was selected by Telecom NZ, the national communications service supplier in New Zealand, to transform conventional payphones into outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots in locations across the country.

Telecom’s initial pilot project, completed in less than 12 weeks, outfitted phone booths in holiday locations over this past Christmas in December 2012 with Ruckus ZoneFlex 7762 outdoor dual-band 802.11n access points to provide the public with free high-speed Wi-Fi access. Telecom is now expanding its solution to more of the 3,000 telephone booths it operates across the country.

Each ZoneFlex Access Point integrates an adaptive antenna array based on Ruckus BeamFlex technology to deliver client devices much stronger Wi-Fi signals. Central management of the Ruckus access points is provided through the Ruckus SmartCell Gateway 200, a massively scalable and versatile wireless LAN (WLAN) platform.

The free trial service is enabled by a TXT (SMS) message to register devices on the network. Users can connect up to five devices for free from one registered mobile number. Per customer data usage is capped at 1GB per day. The wireless traffic from each phone booth is backhauled predominately over fixed DSL or ADSL broadband lines. In some cases, wireless meshing is used to backhaul traffic.

“Like many operators around the world, we see Wi-Fi moving beyond simply hotspots and becoming a standard radio access network technology that customers like, want and value,” said Philip M. Ivanier, Head of Telecom Labs and Strategic Partnering for Telecom NZ.

Telecom NZ is a major player in New Zealand, with one million fixed line residential and small/medium enterprise (SME) customers, and two million mobile connections.

In 2003 Verizon turned 130 New York City phone booths into WiFi hotspots, offering WiFi service to its customers. The company abandoned the network in 2005.

The city of NY says 12,360 pay phones still exist on the city’s sidewalks. The maintenance and operation of the phones have been franchised out to 13 companies, but those contracts are set to expire in October 2014. The city last year issued a formal solicitation (pdf) to companies and individuals to suggest potential uses of the phones in the future.

The results of the challenge have produced five final prototypes that range from a complete reinvention of the traditional phone booth, to a kiosk that can record changes in the environment.

The five finalists in the Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge were picked from over 125 submissions since the contest began in December.