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Global Roaming for TD-LTE

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile are to unveil an innovative new member of the lightRadio’ family that will help accelerate deployment of 4G TD-LTE technology across China, the largest mobile market in the world.

LightRadio Metro Radio – co-developed by Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile – will be launched on February 26 at the Global TD-LTE Initiative’s (GTI) “TDD Night” during Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona.

Available now for large-scale commercial deployment in China Mobile’s first trial TD-LTE network, which spans 13 cities in China, lightRadio Metro Radio will bring legitimate 4G services to residents in densely populated areas of Shanghai, Nanjing and Qingdao.

Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) is a virtual open platform jointly founded by China Mobile, Softbank (Japan), Bharti (India), Clearwire (America), and Vodafone (UK), in an effort to advocate cooperation among global operators and industry partners to promote TD-LTE. Its aim is to solve key issues in the development of TD-LTE and realize the convergence of TD-LTE and LTE FDD, for the global deployment of TD-LTE.

The 6th Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) workshop was held in Barcelona, Spain on Feb. 21-22, ahead of Mobile World Congress. More than one hundred representatives from China Mobile, Vodafone, Softbank, Clearwire etc. participated in this 2-day meeting, managing to promote the solutions for commercialization of TD-LTE and convergence of TD-LTE and LTE FDD.

Roaming between Clearwire, China Mobile, and KT’s TD-LTE network has been demonstrated, and between TD-LTE and FDD LTE, GTI will scale up for further growth of the global roaming of LTE TDD/FDD data services.

China Mobile and KT conducted roaming trials between China Mobile’s 2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz TD-LTE bands, also known as Band 40/38, and KT’s 1.7/1.8 GHz FDD-LTE bands, also known as Band 3. NTT DoCoMo, China Mobile and KT have announced a new partnership on both Wi-Fi and NFC roaming plans across their respective countries of Japan, China and Korea. The new arrangement will allow international mobile and/or Wi-Fi operators to roam into Wi-Fi® hotspots in Japan, China and Korea through a single contract and a one-stop connection

China Mobile is also conducting TD-LTE roaming testing with partners such as India’s Bharti, Japan’s SoftBank and South Korea’s KT. India’s Bharti is expected to show roaming capabilities between its Band 40 TD-LTE service and China Mobile’s Band 40/38 TD-LTE service. The success rate of over 1400 tests on 5-mode 12-band MiFi available for the entire band of 2.6GHz reached 98%, with power consumption same as the level of FDD LTE.

The Global TD-LTE Initiative also hopes to unite with GSMA to promote and support international automobile enterprises with TD-LTE based Internet of Vehicles.

LTE Chip Storm at MWC

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Mobile phones need chips and LTE chips a bunch were falling in Barcelona this week.

Qualcomm demonstrated LTE carrier aggregation with Category 4 data rates of 150 Mbps, based on Qualcomm’s MDM9225 and MDM9625 Gobi chipsets which will enable commercial device launches in the second half of this calendar year. Qualcomm says their Gobi MDM9x25 chipset, manufactured using a 28nm process, is the first to support 3GPP Release 10 multicarrier HSPA+ and LTE Advanced and was demoed with Sierra Wireless’ AirCard mobile hotspot and Ericsson network infrastructure.

Broadcom, semiconductor leader for wired and wireless communications, is demonstrating the carrier aggregation capabilities of its new 4G LTE-Advanced modem, the BCM21892, at Mobile World Congress this week. Carrier aggregation lets mobile operators join different spectrum bands together to create the equivalent of a contiguous 20MHz channel capable of delivering peak LTE speeds of 150Mbps.

The device supports LTE FDD and TDD with 150/50 Mbps DL/UL peaks speeds and achieves Category 4 performance through support of Rel.10 (LTE-Advanced) carrier aggregation. It features a tuning range that can support any of the dedicated 41 3GPP bands to ensure global carrier and frequency spectrum compatibility.

Broadcom is full of news this week. Some of their press releases include:

Meanwhile, Marvell today announced the inclusion of its chipset in the world’s first commercial deployment of ARM-based servers at Chinese search engine giant Baidu. Baidu is pioneering more cost-effective and environmentally friendly data centers using Marvell’s implementation of ARM in its ARMADA™ XP CPU server SoC that support high-storage light-computing tasks for cloud-based services and application. Baidu is using the new ARM servers in its personal cloud storage application named “Baidu Cloud” (yun.baidu.com).

Marvell says its LTE TDD/FDD quad-core world-mode platform, supports all global 3G and 4G broadband standards, enabling seamless global roaming. Marvell’s LTE solution features support for 5-mode cellular modems, including LTE TDD and FDD, High Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+), (TD-HSPA+) and EDGE. Marvell says it is making significant progress on LTE design-wins with global OEMs and expects commercial products based on this platform to be available this year.

Marvell says its PXA1088 is the industry’s most advanced single-chip solution to feature a quad-core processor with support for 3G field-proven cellular modems including High Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+), Time division High Speed Packet Access Plus (TD-HSPA+) and Enhanced Data for GSM Environment (EDGE).

Rovi Corporation is showcasing HEVC 720p compression chips integrated with DivX Plus Streaming, to support the rollout of the newly ratified High Efficiency Video Coding (H.265) standard for mobile and consumer electronic devices. HEVC promises to reduce storage and bandwidth cost by up to nearly 50 percent while maintaining quality playback, enabling mobile operators to meet consumers’ demands for streaming content through IP wireless services.

Rovi plans to have an end-to-end solution for professional HEVC content creation, distribution and playback on PC, mobile and consumer electronics devices for high quality content on any device and screen size.

More coverage of Mobile World Congress is available at C/Net, Engadget, The Verge, Tech Crunch, Light Reading, Fierce Wireless, Re-Think Wireless, Phone Arena, Phone Scoop, EE Times, Computer World, Network World, Anandtech, ARM Devices, Gigaom, Blog Runner, PC Magazine, Google Search, TechMeme and ZDNet.

Prepaid LTE on Boost & Virgin with Android 4 Smartphones

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Prepaid cellular providers Boost and Virgin Mobile will soon be getting 4G handsets, with help from Sprint’s network, notes Engadget.

Virgin Mobile will offer a Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE, starting today for $300. It features a 4-inch display, Android 4.0, and Mobile Hotspot which lets you share your 4G connection with up to 10 other devices. The HTC EVO V 4 ($179) includes mobile hotspot capability so you can connect up to five Wi-Fi devices, a 5MP camera with video and 3D HD imaging, and 1.3MP front-facing camera, 4.3-inch qHD touchscreen, 1GB RAM/4GB ROM, External micro SD memory card slot, HDMI and Bluetooth-capable.

Virgin Mobile’s monthly 3G/4G Broadband2Go plans can be used with these new devices. The data-centric plans start at $35 per month for unlimited data and messaging. Where 4G coverage is not available, the $35 plan keeps you connected with 2GB of 3G data. For $55/month, customers get unlimited 4G data and 5GB of 3G data.

Over on Boost, the no-contract wireless provider adds the March 7 release of the HTC One SV and Boost Force. Both Android powered smartphones will operate on the Sprint 3G and 4G LTE networks, bringing 4G LTE to Boost Mobile customers in more than 50 markets, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas and Houston, and will be available in nearly 170 additional cities in the coming months.

HTC’s One SV, and Android™ 4.0 Dual-mode 3G/4G LTE phone has a 4.3-inch WVGA Super LCD-2 touchscreen, Qualcomm™ Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 5MP camera with 1080p HD video, 1.6MP front camera with 720p video and the Boost Force, boasts a speedy 1.5GHz dual-core processor, a 4-inch touchscreen and dual cameras. Both will be available on March 7th, will run you $300 and $200, respectively.

Small Tablets from Samsung, HP and Lenovo at MWC

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Samsung officially announced their Galaxy Note 8, an 8-inch tablet that thanks to its size is ready to compete directly with the 7.9-inch iPad Mini. Samsung has yet to announce a price for the Galaxy Note 8, but given Samsung’s premium tablet pricing history, it’s doubtful the Note 8 will cost any less than the iPad Mini, especially in international markets where it will double as an extremely large phone.

The Galaxy Note 8 will ship with Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), and Samsung’s ever-present TouchWiz UI. In most international markets the Note 8 will include 3G (HSPA+ 21) capability, in the U.S. it’ll strictly be a Wi-fi-only tablet. While the Asus PadFone line also has a tablet/phone, Asus has no plans to release it in the U.S.

The 8-inch screen with 1,280×800 pixels has a 189 ppi. The Note 8 houses an unidentified 1.6GHz quad-core A9 and 2GB of RAM, a 4,600 mAh non-removable battery, either 16GB or 32GB of memory, a MicroSD card slot, Bluetooth 4 a, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n and GPS are included as well as a gyroscope, accelerometer, and a digital compass. The 3G version will have support for the GLONASS satellite navigation system.

Look for the Note 8 to launch worldwide sometime in the second quarter of 2013.

The HP Slate 7 was introduced yesterday. Costing only $169, the Slate 7 is aimed to battle inexpensive tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7. It runs a vanilla version Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with an ARM Dual Core Cortex-A9 1.6 GHz processor. The tablet has a rather dim 7-inch, 1,024-by-600 LCD screen surrounded by a broad bezel. The HP Slate7 includes a 3-megapixel camera on the back and a VGA camera on the front for chatting, videos and photos.

Printing is a unique feature built into the OS so you can print from a range of different applications. You’ll be able to print via Wi-Fi or by plugging your tablet directly into a printer with a USB cable.

The HP Slate7 delivers the Google experience with services like Google Now, Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive and Google+ Hangouts for multiperson video chat as well as access to apps and digital content through Google Play. It will be sold at major U.S. retailers starting in April.

Lenovo has unveiled three new Android tablets. These include a pair of 7-inch models, the A1000 and A3000, and a 10-inch slate, the S6000.

The A1000 runs Android Jelly Bean 4.1 on a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and has on-board storage of up to 16GB, extendable to 32GB with a micro-SD slot. The A3000 optimizes the user experience for games, video, photo-sharing and web-browsing, with an IPS 1024×600 screen, has an external micro-SD card and optional 3G HSPA+ support ensures users stay connected on the go with Lenovo’s ultra-portable table. The S6000 has a 10.1-inch IPS 1280X800 display with a wide, 178-degree viewing angle, micro HDMI port and digital microphone.

Intel Talks up Tablet & Phone Processors

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Intel is talking up its partnership with ASUS on the 7″ Android-based Fonepad, at Mobile World Congress, and said its new Clover Trail+ chip (pdf) has double the performance and triple the graphics capabilities of its predecessor.

Clover Trail+, using 32nm process, is Intel’s first dual-core chip for smartphones, and the successor to Medfield. The performance boost comes at the same level of power consumption as Intel’s prior offering, reports C/Net.

Intel says Clover Trail+ comes in three variations: 2.0 gigahertz, 1.6GHz, and 1.2GHz. The processors come with an Intel graphics media accelerator engine with a graphics core supporting up to 533MHz with boost mode.

Clover Trail+ likely will be a short-lived chip, though. Intel will transition to 22 nanometers and a new architecture later this year with the Merrifield chip. The company didn’t give many details about the 22-nanometer processor for smartphones, beyond saying it “will help enable increased smartphone performance, power efficiency, and battery life.”

Intel’s 22-nanometer chip tablet processor, dubbed Bay Trail, is Intel’s first quad-core Atom chip. It doubles the performance of the company’s current-generation tablet chip. Bay Trail should be available in time for this year’s holiday season.

Intel also doesn’t offer a multimode LTE processor, which allows phones to access older networks in locations where 4G isn’t available. The company today said that will change in coming months as Intel starts shipping its multimode processor. The chip, dubbed the XMM 7160, supports LTE, DC-HSPA+ and EDGE.

In smartphones especially, Intel faces a tough battle against entrenched competitors, notes ArsTechnica. Apple and Samsung are content to make their own chips for their phones and tablets, and Qualcomm’s successful Snapdragon SoCs (plus its many LTE-supporting modems) means that ARM chips are likely to remain a mainstay in this market segment, especially in the US. Nvidia’s Tegra 4i and its own integrated modem make a strong case for midrange phones, as well.

One of the most intriguing new phones being unveiled this week in Barcelona, may be a sleek new Windows model developed in Redmond, notes Brier Dudley in the Seattle Times.

The i-mate handset, with a 4.7-inch touch-screen display, runs on Intel’s “Clover Trail” hardware and Windows 8 Pro, so it’s a full-blown PC capable of running most desktop software.

Called the Intelegent, the device could go on sale this summer for $750, which is less than the price of an unlocked iPhone 5 with the same amount of storage capacity. It has an Atom processor, 2 gigabytes of RAM and 64 gigabytes of storage. It’s designed to work with HSPA+ and LTE 4G wireless networks and have up to 10 hours of talk time.

I-mate will sell the phone alone or as part of a $1,600 desktop hardware suite including a docking station, called the “hub.” Docked in the hub, the phone can be used with a traditional, wired phone handset or make video calls. It also functions as a desktop PC — powering a 23-inch touch-screen display, keyboard and mouse — and drives an auxiliary wireless tablet with a 10.1-inch, 1080p display.

New Asus Tablets at MWC

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Asus, the company behind Google’s Nexus 7, has introduced the FonePad, a $249 7-inch tablet that can make phone calls. It features a 1,280×800 display, the same size and resolution as the Nexus 7, but lacks a rear camera, but includes a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, which should come in handy for video calling.

It uses an Intel 1.2GHz Atom Z2420, along with 1GB of RAM, a PowerVR SGX540 GPU, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and an HSPA+ radio. The 4,270mAH battery is said to get up to nine hours of runtime, which would put this in the same league as other tablets.

You get 16GB of storage, but it also has a microSD card, with up to 32GB cards supported. That should be plenty of space, and gives the FonePad an edge over the Nexus 7, which has no expandable storage.

The FonePad is made from metal, is slim, too, measuring 10.4mm on its shallowest side. Asus says you’ll be able to grip this tablet comfortably with one hand, much like the Nexus 7.

The ASUS PadFone Infinity also announced today, is a 5-inch phone with a 1080p screen, Snapdragon 600 CPU and full HD tablet display. Like other PadFones, the handset slips into a tablet-like dock.

The new version ships with Android 4.2, and the display has grown from 4.7 inches to 5. The resolution is now 1080p (up from 720p), which comes out to 441 pixels per inch. The tablet’s 10.1-inch screen has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200, up from 1,280 x 800 in the last-gen model.

The smaller PadFone Infinity supports EDGE, GPRS, GSM, WCDMA, LTE and DC-HSPA+, along with WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, A-GPS and even GLONASS. ASUS has added a 13-megapixel autofocusing camera with an LED flash, five-element, f/2.0 lens and burst shooting at eight fps. There’s a front camera too, capped at 2MP. Meanwhile, the 2,400mAh battery promises up to 19 hours of 3G talk time, and up to 40 with the dock attached.

Like every other PadFone that’s been released, this won’t be available in the US, but the phone-and-dock combo will cost £799 / €999 when it goes on sale in Europe this April.

A lower cost version of the 7-inch MeMO Pad is coming to the US. Starting at $149 for an 8GB model, the MeMO Pad features a VIA WM8950 SoC. Inside the SoC, a single ARM Cortex A9 CPU runs at up to 1GHz and features an ARM Mali-400 of unknown core configuration. The total DRAM size hasn’t gone down compared to the Nexus 7, but display resolution has (1024 x 600 vs. 1280 x 800). Availability is expected in the US starting in April.