Scramjet Hits Mach 5.1

On May 1, the last X-51A got its chance to soar, reaching Mach 5.1, during a record 370-second flight, notes Engadget. The third X-51A WaveRider failed to reach hypersonic speed due to a fin failure last August.

According to the Wright Patterson Air Force base, the flying bomb hit Mach 4.8 about 26 seconds after being released from a B-2H at 50K feet, at which point its air-fed scramjet brought it to 60,000 feet while achieving hypersonic flight.

Scramjets have no moving parts. Hydrocarbon fuel is injected into the scramjet’s combustion chamber where it mixes with the air rushing through the chamber and is ignited

Boeing and Pratt-Whitney Rocketdyne built four X-51A flight test vehicles with the program goal of reaching Mach 6 in hypersonic flight. Past X51a flights aimed to hit Mach six, with the first and second tests only sustaining Mach five. Onboard sensors transmitted data to both an airborne U.S. Navy P-3 Orion and to ground systems at Point Mugu, Edwards, and Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The second hypersonic flight ended prematurely. The scramjet engine lit but failed to transition to full power. The 3rd flight also resulted in a crash. The craft’s upper-right fin “inexplicably” unlocked, eventually sending the craft into a very slow “corkscrew” spiral, ending with a splashdown in the Pacific.

No word yet on the top secret mission to retrieve the craft from the Pacific. There was a top secret mission to retrieve the X-51a vehicles, wasn’t there?

Meanwhile, An Australia hypersonic vehicle reached an apogee of nearly 218 miles and then achieved speeds of up to Mach 8 — about 6,100 mph — on descent, in September, 2012. All sensor and telemetry systems worked perfectly, Australia’s Defense Science and Technology Organization said.

Fitbit’s $99 Wristband Does Bluetooth 4.0

Fitbit’s new Flex wristband, may not be the most comprehensive activity tracker on the market, but it does deliver quite a bit of bang for your buck, according to Engadget.

Flex automatically syncs your data to PCs, Macs, iPhone 4S & 5, iPad 3, Retina & mini, iPod touch, and to select Android phones without plugging in or pushing buttons. It uses Bluetooth 4.0 (low energy). Also with select NFC-enabled Android devices, you can tap your device to launch your Fitbit stats.

With the Fitbit app, your stats will automatically sync to select smartphones wirelessly. The Fitbit One, Zip, and Flex will sync with select mobile devices.
Check out which Bluetooth 4.0 devices work at www.fitbit.com/devices.

The company’s latest gadget will compete with the $150 Nike FuelBand (IOS App) and the $129 Jawbone Up (IOS and Android), but at $100, the Flex is more affordable than either of them.

ABI Research forecasts shipments of Bluetooth enabled sports and fitness devices will grow ten-fold from 2011 to 2016, totaling 278 million and representing over 60 percent of the total available market.

In it’s new report, IC Insights says Bluetooth unit shipments will grow 29% per year over the 2010-2015 time period.

Juniper Research predicts by the year 2014, there will be a total of 2.7 million annual mobile health monitoring events globally, generating some $1.9 billion at the end of 2014.

The mHealth field has emerged as a sub-segment of eHealth, using computers, mobile phones, patient monitors, etc., for health services and information.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Jawbone Buys BodyMedia, FCC Okays Medical Body Networks, Wireless Health Initiatives, Medical Devices Mobilize, Apps Enter the Twilight Zone, Mobile Health: Fast Growth , Open Source Tricorder, Mobile Health: Alive and Well, Bluetooth LE: Running for Certification, Real-time Running and Biking Apps, Bluetooth Bike and Fitness Sensors Get Smart , Polar Ships Bluetooth 4 Heart Monitor, HTC One S: Android 4 & Bluetooth Low Energy and FCC Okays Medical Body Networks, Wireless Control Expands Reach, Texting Clogs Cycling GPS Trackers at Olympics, Wireless Health Initiatives, Medical Devices Mobilize, Apps Enter the Twilight Zone, Mobile Health: Fast Growth , Open Source Tricorder and Mobile Health: Alive and Well.

600 MHz Auction Speculation

Fierce Wireless reviews the big 600 MHz auction due next year, which will auction off as much as 120 MHz, between TV channels 30-50. The 600 MHz band promises to enhance LTE coverage with even better range than the current 700 MHz band.

But the number of licenses put up for auction depends almost entirely on how much the broadcasters are paid to give up their spectrum (which they never “owned” in the first place).

“If broadcasters were offered $1 per MHz POP you could see quite a lot of them might participate,” says Tim Fararr, who has his share of off the wall predictions. If it was more like $0.30 per MHz POP, then the auction might get less than 80 MHz, Farrar said. Verizon and AT&T would need to fully participate to drive up bid prices, he said.

How the final rules are written makes all the difference.

Verizon and AT&T have been agitating against rules that would restrict their participation, sparked by statements from the Department of Justice calling on the FCC to ensure Sprint and T-Mobile have ample opportunities to bid on the spectrum.

Revenues expected will largely be dependent on whether Verizon and AT&T participate. Farrar said that if they do, the auction could well raise more than $20 billion. He said he does not see Sprint or T-Mobile spending more than $5 billion each to acquire 600 MHz spectrum.

A recent nonpartisan study released by the Center for Business and Public Policy at Georgetown University found that rules that bar Verizon and AT&T from participating “could reduce auction revenues by about 40 percent–lowering federal auction proceeds from as much as $31 billion to approximately $19 billion.”

The report (pdf) warned that getting only $19 billion “could result in a funding shortfall to support the build out of the nationwide interoperable, high-speed public safety broadband network–FirstNet–mandated by Congress in 2012.”


700 MHz Spectrum Winners (2008)
Source: Telephony

Bidder Total bids Spectrum acquired
#1 Verizon Wireless $9.36B C Block open access covering lower 48/key metro and economic areas
#2 AT&T $6.64B B Block metro licenses in large cities across the U.S.
#3 EchoStar/DISH Network $711M 168 E block (unpaired) licenses across the U.S.
#4 Qualcomm $588M E Block licenses in Boston, Los Angeles and New York City; placed sole bid on D Block public safety license (but didn’t win)
#5 MetroPCS $313M Single A Block license in Boston
#6 Cox Communications $304M 14 A block, 8 B block
#7 US Cellular $300M 25 A block, 127 B block
#8 Cellular South $191M 14 A block, 10 B block
#9 CenturyTel $150M A and B Block licenses in its LEC territory
#10 Vulcan Spectrum $112.8 $43.6 million for A Block” in Portland, Salem and $69 million for Seattle, Tacoma, Bremerton

The Georgetown study concludes that with $7 billion needed from the auction to deploy FirstNet, coupled with the estimated $2 billion needed for re-packing broadcast spectrum after it has been auctioned, only $10 billion of the potential $19 billion in auction revenue would remain for purchasing the broadcasters’ spectrum–and that might not be enough to pay the broadcasters for all of the spectrum they relinquish.

The Georgetown “study” might be more credible if it compared MHz per pop. In the 2008 auction, some $19 billion was raised. But the total spectrum available in 2008 was about half the anticipated spectrum to be auctioned in 2014.

In 2008, AT&T received 20 MHz, Verizon received 20 MHz and rural carriers got 10 MHz. That totals 50 MHz. In 2014, some 120 MHz could be available in the 600 MHz spectrum auction. Spectrum prices have gone up, too.

It’s not clear how the study was paid for. Presumably some PhD got a grant from a “pro business” institution.

Steve Pociask, President of American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research says Consumers Will Lose From Rigged Wireless Auctions. But Pociask defines “rigged” as NOT giving the duopoly free reign to control the 600 MHz spectrum. He likes duopolies.

Farrar said if AT&T and Verizon do not participate at all the auction could fail, since bids might not meet the required reserve price.

What failed was Congress.

They gave away the “D-Block” to public service and promised to fund a parallel 700 MHz cellular network dedicated solely to first responders. Some analysts say it will cost upwards of $25 billion to build the ruggedized infrastructure, manage the network and buy radios.

The FCC, by contrast, said sharing existing commercial cellular service made more sense. Priority access would give First Responders access to all the current infrastructure. Commercial cellular service is ubiquitous. It will be cheaper than FirstNet. Smaller communities won’t have FirstNet service and are unlikely to afford it – without huge government grants.

If Tom Wheeler becomes head of the FCC, you can bet that AT&T and Verizon will buy most of the available 600 MHz spectrum — and keep prices high. White space? Forget it. A viable alternative to carrier-controlled pricing could be unlikely in the Wheeler administration.

Personally, I think FirstNet will fail – just like the FCC determined. FirstNet will work great for the top 25 municipalities, but nobody else will be able to afford it – even if utilities are pressured into subsidizing the cost at above the market rates.

Consumers will end up paying the bill – either through higher (duopoly) cell phone rates, higher utility bills, or higher taxes. Or all three.

Verizon paid nearly $10B for 20 MHz of 700 MHz five years ago. Perhaps Google/Sprint could buy 40 MHz ($16B), T-Mobile 20 MHz ($10B), and Verizon and AT&T were allowed 10 MHz each ($10B total), that’s $36B total. Perhaps then, another 20 MHz could be freed up for rural broadband. Everyone might benefit from ubiquitous broadband — not just a handful of big city police departments.

Andrew Seybold appears to be one of the few to make judgements based on engineering principals. But his constituents are public service employees.

I’d like to see competition.

I’d like to see a study that analyzed the cost to the economy and society where only rich people could afford wireless broadband. I don’t think AT&T or Verizon would fund a study like that.

Related Dailywireless articles include; DOJ: Justice at 600 MHz?, FirstNet: Get Utilities to Pay for It, FCC Supports National White Space Networking , War 2.0 for Unlicensed Spectrum, FCC: TV Auction in 2014, Spectrum War: Unlicensed, Shared and Auctioned, White Space Radio using 802.11af Demoed, FCC Dishes Dirt, Talks Up 3.5 GHz, Incentive Auctions: Going Nuclear, AT&T Fears FCC’s Incentive Auction Plans, FCC Moves on TV Frequency Auction, FCC Authorizes White Space Service in Wilmington, Genachowski Lobbies for Unlicensed White Spaces, Universal Service Reform Passed

Leaked Acer 8″ Windows Tablet: $379

While Acer was busy showing off its new large-screen Windows devices in New York Friday, an 8.1-inch Acer Iconia W3-810-1600 was briefly available – by accident – on Amazon.

PC World says rumors of the 8-inch slate first surfaced in late April. It’s still yet to make an official debut, but the Amazon page revealed that the tablet packs a dual-core Atom processor, and has a Nexus 7-matching 1280-by-800 display.

The inclusion of an x86 processor means the 1.1-pound slate will run the full-blown version of Windows 8, rather than the neutered Windows RT operating system. At $379, it offers the full Windows 8 experience for just $50 more than the cost of the iPad mini.

Clearwire Committee Likes Sprint Offer Best

Clearwire has released the full text of a letter sent today to shareholders regarding the company’s transaction with Sprint.

May 6, 2013:

On May 21, 2013, Clearwire will hold a Special Meeting of Stockholders to vote on the proposed Sprint transaction. Clearwire stockholders of record as of the close of business on April 2, 2013, are entitled to vote at the Special Meeting.

PROPOSED TRANSACTION WITH SPRINT PROVIDES THE BEST STRATEGIC ALTERNATIVE FOR CLEARWIRE’S MINORITY STOCKHOLDERS AND REPRESENTS FAIR, ATTRACTIVE AND CERTAIN VALUE

Clearwire’s board of directors has always been committed to considering strategic options and pursuing those that maximize stockholder value. A Special Committee conducted a careful and rigorous review of all options available to Clearwire, with the assistance of independent financial and legal advisors.

On the unanimous recommendation of the Special Committee, the Clearwire board has unanimously concluded that the proposed transaction with Sprint is the best strategic alternative for stockholders, representing fair, attractive and certain value, especially in light of the Company’s limited alternatives and the well-known constraints of its liquidity position.

The proposed $2.97 per share offer price equates to a total payment to Clearwire minority stockholders of approximately $2.2 billion. This transaction represents a total Clearwire enterprise value of approximately $10 billion, including net debt and spectrum lease obligations of $5.5 billion. Additional benefits include:

• _Attractive spectrum value of $0.21 / MHz – POP;
• _A ~130% premium to Clearwire’s closing share price on October 10, 2012, just before Sprint publicly acknowledged its merger discussions with SoftBank, and Clearwire was speculated to be part of that transaction;
• _A 40% premium to the closing share price on November 20, 2012, the day before Clearwire received Sprint’s $2.60 per share initial non-binding indication of interest;
• _Higher certainty of value for stockholders compared to other alternatives; and
• _Immediate liquidity to stockholders at transaction close.

SPRINT PROPOSAL WAS THOROUGHLY EVALUATED BY CLEARWIRE’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND SPECIAL COMMITTEE

Clearwire formed a Special Committee, comprised of three directors independent from Sprint. Clearwire’s Special Committee hired its own legal and financial advisors to evaluate and negotiate the Sprint transaction. Specifically, the Special Committee:
• _Rejected Sprint’s initial indication of interest of $2.60;
• _Oversaw subsequent negotiations, leading to an increase in the offer price of 14% and other more favorable terms; and
• _Received a fairness opinion from its financial advisors that the $2.97 merger consideration was fair, from a financial point of view, to the Company’s non-Sprint stockholders.

In addition to the actions taken by the Special Committee outlined above, the Board hired its own separate, independent legal and financial advisors and received a fairness opinion stating that the $2.97 merger consideration was fair, from a financial point of view, to the Company’s non-Sprint stockholders.

The $2.97 per share consideration represents a substantial premium to the price received by other sophisticated investors in recent transactions. For example, Google received $2.26 per share for its Clearwire Common Stock on March 1, 2012, and Time Warner received $1.37 per share for its Clearwire Common Stock on October 3, 2012.

Sprint offered to buy Clearwire in December for $2.2 billion but satellite TV provider Dish Network Corp announced a counterbid of $2.3 billion in January. The Sprint Buyout of Clearwire was also fought by some shareholders. Dish followed up in April by making a bid for Sprint.

Clearwire said in February it would evaluate Dish’s bid but continued to recommend Sprint’s offer.

Startup PDX Challenge Finalists

The Portland Development Commission named 16 semifinalists to boost entrepreneurship in the city. About 240 young companies applied to participate in the Startup PDX Challenge, which will award up to six $10,000 grants, plus free rent and professional services for a year, reports the Oregonian.

They are: