Dualing Webcasts from Apple and Intel

Posted by Sam Churchill on

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.

AWS Auction Prevents Current Dish Move for T-Mobile?

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Dish Network’s Charlie Ergen is still interested in a deal with T-Mobile, according to a Bloomberg report. Merger talks between T-Mobile and Sprint broke down last month. Iliad in late July made a $15 billion bid for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile, valuing the carrier at $33 per share. Earlier, AT&T wanted to buy T-Mobile for $39 Billion, but was rejected the the DOJ and the FCC.

The report said Ergen has not made a formal offer but said that he would be open to the idea of making one in the next few months. The report said Ergen will wait until after the conclusion of the FCC’s AWS-3 spectrum auction, which starts Nov. 13, before making any concrete moves toward T-Mobile. Anti-collusion rules for the auction kick into effect this month. Both T-Mobile and Dish are expected to participate in the auction.

Ergen has reportedly had on-and-off talks with DT for several years and is seeking to partner with a wireless carrier to host its spectrum, which totals some 55 Mhz, mostly in the 2 GHz band. DT said it is under no pressure to sell T-Mobile.

T-Mobile recently acknowledged that French mobile and Internet company Iliad is still interested in pursuing a deal for T-Mobile. Iliad’s $15 billion bid for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile, valued the carrier at $33 per share. DT rejected that offer and has since indicated $35 per share would be closer to the mark.

Related Dailywireless articles include; French Operator Iliad Bids for T-Mobile US, Dish: 5th Biggest Spectrum Holder, Unlimited Voice Not Data, New Normal, Viva la Free Network!, Sprint and T-Mobile: Joint Bidding on 600MHz?, T-Mobile/Sprint Agreement?

GM & Ford to Build Self-Driving Cars for Michigan Testbed

Posted by Sam Churchill on

General Motors announced Sunday it plans to introduce Cadillac models in two years that incorporate hands-free driving and Wi-Fi-enabled vehicle-to-vehicle communications with similarly equipped vehicles, reports C/Net. GM brands, Chief Executive Mary Barra announced the initiative in a speech at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Detroit on Sunday.

In May, Google unveiled a two-seater prototype vehicle that uses built-in sensors and a software system to safely maneuver the vehicle rather than a steering wheel and accelerator and brake pedals.

Google has been leading the charge in developing self-driving technology over the past couple of years, but several automobile manufacturers have also gotten into various aspects of the autonomous driving game, including Audi, Mercedes Benz, Ford, Nissan, Delphi, Toyota, and Tesla.

GM’s “Super Cruise” semi-automated technology will automatically keep a vehicle in a specific, properly equipped freeway lane, making necessary steering and speed adjustments in bumper-to-bumper traffic or long highway trips. The feature, which was unveiled in 2012, is expected to debut in a high-end Cadillac in 2016 on a 2017 model, and will eventually trickle down to other GM brands. It would likely use the 5.9 GHz band for Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC).

The Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) system would act as a natural complement to the active traffic management projects that are up and running in European countries like England, Germany, Greece and The Netherlands, according to Barra.

For example, the M4 and M5 Smart Motorways near Bristol, England now include things like variable speed limits, dynamic routing and lane markings, and improved traveler information systems.

GM is joining the University of Michigan and the state of Michigan to develop vehicle-to-infrastructure driving corridors on 120 miles of metro Detroit roadways. State officials said Ford is also part of the effort. If a driver in a V2V-equipped car brakes suddenly in heavy fog, for example, every other V2V-enabled car around it will know, MDOT notes.

When the new corridor goes on line, 9,000 V2V-equipped cars are expected to be on the road as part of the program.

The University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center (MTC), a major public-private R&D initiative that aims to revolutionize the movement of people and goods in society the university announced Friday. Plans call for implementing a working system in Ann Arbor by 2021.

Here’s My Proposal for self-driving cars in Portland. See Dailywireless stories on Vehicle-to-Vehicle Network Proposed for United States, Vehicle to Vehicle Communications: Moving Forward?, FCC Moves to Add 195 MHz to Unlicensed 5 GHz band, World Congress on Talking Cars, and 5.9 GHz Hits the Road, Inside Google’s Driverless Car, Driverless Cars Rolling Out in UK, Autonet Does Control and Diagnostic Apps, Verizon Forms Connected Car Venture, Automotive Telematics Goes 4G, Ford Lowers SYNC Costs, Google’s Driverless Car Explained, World Congress on Talking Cars, Connected Car Conference

VR Cinema: Killer App?

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4, a 5.7″ phablet announced last week, is even bigger than premium flagship phones like the LG G3 with a 5.5″ display, the Sony Xperia Z3 with a 5.2″ display, and Samsung S-5, with a 5.1″ display, notes C/Net. The Note, with a Snapdragon 805, is also more powerful.

The 5″+ phablets should make tomorrow’s rumored 4.7″ iPhone 6 look downright dainty, but a 5.5″ iPhone 6L might fit right in.

The Note 4’s killer app may be VR. The Note 4-powered Gear VR headset was developed by John Carmack at Oculus, who has spent the last year spearheading this effort.

When docked, the Gear VR uses the Note 4 display and its processing power for full-immersion games and movies. The headset has its own magnetometer and accelerometer to calculate movement, as well as a proximity sensor. Built-in lenses with a 96-degree field of view sit between your eyes and the screen, and there’s a touchpad on the headset for navigating menus.

It’s expected to be available this fall in the U.S. for around $200. Whether VR cinema on an $800 phone and $200 headset will catch on is an open question.

Maybe a 5″ Huawei Ascend P7 will offer VR competition for half the cost.

Of course there’s Google Cardboard. Essentially, it’s a cardboard housing for a smartphone. You get a $10 lens kit, about $7 in off-the-shelf magnets, $3 worth of velcro, a rubber band, and an easily programmable $1.50 Near-Field Communication sticker tag for launching the companion mobile app. It lets you cruise through a landscape or city street in Google Earth, watch YouTube videos in a virtual theater or Chrome Experiments, visiting the Great Barrier Reef in a helicopter, or riding a roller coaster. The spherical videos are provided by AirPano.

Hop in the virtual pedicab. Let’s travel along the Champs-Élysées tonight!

Apple’s Wearable Faces Massive Competition

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Apple’s upcoming wearable device, based on iOS, will run third-party applications and may come with an App Store, reports 9-to-5 Mac. To be revealed on Tuesday, the wrist-worn Apple wearable is not expected to be released until early next year. It will boast a fashionable appearance, but still function as a smart watch with fitness-centric features.

Rumors say the device includes a miniaturized system-on-a-chip with a multitude of sensors ranging from sweat detectors to pulse readers to motion sensors. The device is also expected to include an NFC chip to act as a conduit for Apple’s upcoming mobile payment system. One of the developers with access to the pre-release SDK is Facebook. The social network is also experimenting with ways it can leverage the new Notification Center widget APIs. Apple likely wants to demonstrate some third-party wearable apps at Tuesday’s event. The wearable device will make good use of the new Continuity, Handoff, and Widgets features for iPhone users to be able to easily transfer content from the smartphone to the wearable and vice versa.

Of course Apple will have lots of wearable competition. Here’s a rundown of the smartwatches announced at the IFA show in Berlin last week:

  • The Moto 360 went on sale last week for $250 via Motorola’s site, and it would seem the Android Wear-powered smartwatch is already backordered. On board is standard Android Wear, and that piece of software is being powered by 512MB of RAM and a TI OMAP 3 processor. All of it is displayed on a round 1.56-inch display with 320 x 290 resolution, and it should last up to a full 24 hours with its 320mAh battery. It remains to be seen whether the TI OMAP chipset can keep up with the Snapdragon 400 found in competing models.
  • The Samsung Gear S can make calls without being teathered to a phone, unlike previous versions. It features a heart rate monitor and a nanoSIM card slot, and a UV sensor which will keep an eye on radiation levels for you. Samsung Gear S specs; Tizen OS, 2-inch Super AMOLED (360x480p), 1 GHz dual-core processor, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of ROM, 300 mAh battery, IP67 rating. Text input capabilities are provided by Fleksy keyboard.
  • The LG Watch R, LG’s attempt a circular smartwatch will hit stores on October 14th, though it’s unclear which markets will see the watch first. Specs include a 1.3-inch POLED display with resolution of 320×320, 245PPI, Snapdragon 400, 512MB RAM, 4GB storage, Bluetooth 4.0, Sensors: 9-axis, PPG, Barometer, heart rate monitor.
  • Sony’s Smartwatch 3 is an Android Wear device. The interface is strongly reminiscent of Google Now for Android with its card-based approach to delivering notifications and data gathered from the device’s sensors. Sony added to the experience by connecting the watch to its Lifelog app.
  • Sony’s original SmartBand was upgraded to the new SmartBand Talk, a wearable that does many of the same physical activity tracking and life logging functions, but also handles calls and control your phone with your voice, and there’s also things like notifications and more. It has a 1.4-inch e-paper display. The display has a resolution of 288 x 128, and other specs include an ARM Cortex-M4 CPU, 2MB memory and a 70mAh battery that will give up to 3 days of battery life — at least according to Sony. There’s also Bluetooth, NFC and Sony’s now-standard IP68 waterproof tech
  • The Asus Zenwatch sticks to the “standard” rectangular design and is made primarily from stainless steel and has a slightly curved display. The display uses AMOLED technology and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with genuine stitched-leather strap and quick-release clasp by an Italian designer. It runs Android Wear, features over 100 built-in watch faces, double-tap on the watch face to find your phone, and automatic phone unlock. Other features include the ability to trigger a camera shot via the watch, and a heart rate monitor.
  • Alcatel’s Wave Smartwatch offers notifications, step counts, heart-rate monitoring, music controls, and remote camera control. Plus a variant version will soon include a translucent solar panel on the face for drip recharging. Really inexpensive; €99 ($129 / £78 / AU$137)
  • Huawei is said to be prepping another wearable they’ll launch next year — this time running Android Wear.

This list was compiled from articles on PocketNow, Android Authority, Phone Arena, Phone Scoop, Phandroid, C/Net, and Engadget

Sprint Offers International Wi-Fi Calling

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Sprint will begin offering International Wi-Fi Calling back to the United States at no additional cost starting with an over-the-air software update to Samsung Galaxy S 4 with Sprint Spark rolling out now. This new feature allows those traveling abroad with Wi-Fi Calling enabled phones to make and receive calls to friends and family in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico at no additional charge while connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Three of the four major wireless operators in the US have announced they’re deploying voice over LTE service (excepting Sprint). Voice over LTE will eventually replace existing 2G voice service. Currently LTE is a data-only service, with voice routed through their separate 3G infrastructure.

Wi-Fi Calling lets Sprint customers use voice and messaging services over existing home, office and public Wi-Fi networks. Available at no additional charge to Sprint customers with a compatible Android smartphone, it offers improved voice, data and messaging services in locations that previously had limited or no mobile network coverage.

Sprint’s HD Voice transmits and receives a wider octave range on traditional cellular networks. HD Voice actively detects background noise and minimizes its presence, making your voice and the voice on the other end of the call more defined and easier to understand.

WiFi calling essentially allows cell phone packets to be forwarded to a network access point over the internet, rather than over-the-air using cellular providers. Since the system works over the internet, a UMA-capable handset can connect to their service provider from any location with internet access. This is particularly useful for travellers, who can connect to their provider and make calls into their home service area from anywhere in the world.

Say you take your Wifi phone to France, you can connect to Wi-Fi Calling and call your friend in Seattle. The call is billed like a local call to Seattle (e.g. it comes out of your bucket of minutes), with no international roaming fees. But if you’re in France and you call a French number (+33 …) then it’s billed like an international call to France.

Wi-Fi calling is available on T-Mobile and others, using special Wifi handsets or with smartphone apps like Kineto.

Kineto Wireless, a major supplier of telco-OTT solutions, says it has added a suite of Smart Calling services to its downloadable Smart Comms smartphone application for mobile operators. The new services include the ability to make and receive cellular calls and SMS over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi), 2nd line service, home line calling, and international VoIP calling.