Tag Archives: broadband technology

Bring on Broadband Baby!

NEWS: Motorola ships 10 000th WiMAX access point base site

WiMAX leader’s second WiMAX shipment milestone follows shipment of one millionth CPE device, helping further its efforts to bring broadband everywhere.

Motorola, Inc.’s Home & Networks Mobility business announced that it has shipped its 10 000th 802.16e WiMAX Access Point (WAP) base site. This milestone shipment represents more than a 40% compound annual growth rate since Motorola’s first WiMAX access points were shipped in 2007.

Motorola’s WAP portfolio includes a variety of solutions designed to meet specific needs for coverage and capacity. The 2.3GHz, 2.5GHz, and 3.5GHz models currently shipping include the WAP 400 with 2×2 antenna technology and the WAP 450 – a higher power 2×2 unit. In addition, the WAP 800 in the 3.5GHz has the versatility to support both coverage and capacity models with 4×8 beam-forming antenna technology.

The recently announced 4×4 WAP 650, which is an easy field upgrade from the WAP 450, offers operators 30% reduction in total cost of ownership compared to average 2×2 base stations. Each new generation of the WAP product line is designed with improved energy efficiency to be eco-friendly and reduce operating costs. For example, there is a more than 100% relative energy efficiency improvement from the first to second generation radio frequency (RF) unit.

“This shipment milestone is further evidence of the success we’ve achieved in delivering mobile WiMAX,” said Bruce Brda, senior vice president and general manager of  Motorola Home & Networks Mobility. “Motorola, the No. 1 market share leader in WiMAX, is committed to 802.16e mobile WiMAX and to the future path of WiMAX 802.16m. In fact, Motorola is on the IEEE 802.16m Task Group m leadership board and helped design the 16m standard.”

Motorola has been a pioneer in developing mobile WiMAX since 2005 when it was one of the first companies to declare its support solely behind 802.16e. Motorola now stands poised to help launch the next iteration of this mobile broadband technology, 802.16m – also known as WiMAX Release 2, with continued development of its WiMAX portfolio.

Motorola has more than 35 WiMAX contracts in every region of the world, in 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz, and 3.5 GHz, including the recently announced deal with Imagine in Ireland. Its WiMAX customers, which range from Greenfield to mature operators, are delivering fixed, nomadic, and mobile service to meet their unique market needs and business requirements.

For more information on Motorola’s WiMAX solutions, please visit www.motorola.com/wimax. For updates visit www.mediaexperiences2go.com or follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/motomobilemedia.

Google sounds the bugle!

GOOGLE WAVE: The clash of the computer titans is on. Google has taken on Microsoft by announcing that it’s launching its own operating system — free of charge. The war between the two software giants is likely to change the world of the Internet forever

Alistair Fairweather

IF business is war then two of the world’s biggest companies have finally stopped skirmishing on their borders and brought out the heavy artillery. On July 7, Google fired the first shell by announcing that they will begin offering their own operating system in mid 2010.

Bling bling babyThe warhead — called Chrome OS  — is aimed straight at the heart of Microsoft who have built their entire business around operating systems since the 70s, first with MS DOS and then the globally-dominating Windows series.

But while Microsoft have always charged for their software, Google plan to give theirs away free of charge. What’s more, Google are starting from a completely fresh perspective — one with the potential to undermine Microsoft’s entire business model and loosen their foothold on the software market.

If the name “Chrome” sounds familiar, that’s because it’s also the name of Google’s web browser. And this isn’t just a case of lazy naming. By evolving Chrome into an operating system, Google are planning to turn the entire software world on its head and make browsing the centre of computing.

An Introduction to Google Wave
There is a full 1 hour 20min presentation on YouTube which Philc7753 has kindly and painstakingly edited down for our short attention spans  

Hang on, isn’t an operating system a lot more complicated that a browser? Doesn’t a browser need an operating system to, well, operate? That’s the whole genius of the plan. Google are betting that the centre of influence in computing is moving out of personal computers and into the massive computing power of the Internet, known as the “cloud”.

That means that in future, computers will be dumber and cheaper. They will rely on the enormous banks of computers that power the Internet to do much of their thinking for them.

This is already happening. One of the fastest growing sectors in computing is netbooks — smaller, cheaper, less powerful portable computers with speedy connections to the Internet that focus on tasks like e-mail and browsing the net.

The wave is coming...Currently, Microsoft is tussling with free operating systems such as Linux for ownership of this market, and Google wants its own share of the pie. So what? There’s nothing particularly revolutionary about a free operating system. They have been around for longer than Microsoft have been in existence, let alone Google. And some of them are backed by huge companies such as IBM and SAP.

Yet none of those other companies is as heavily invested in cloud computing as Google. And it’s cloud computing that poses the greatest risk to Microsoft’s dominance.

Microsoft’s bread and butter has always been its desktop applications —  programs such as Word, Outlook and PowerPoint. Operating systems are like plumbing — expensive but necessary — and Microsoft have lost money on them for years. This was justified because they knew that by owning the platform they would be able earn it all back on desktop applications.

Google Docs, on the other hand, is nearly as good as Microsoft’s Office but is free and requires no hard-drive space and much less power (and therefore can run on a cheaper computer). It’s a true “cloud” application  — its platform is the Internet.

So Google have, in effect, pulled Microsoft’s own trick on them but in reverse, and for free. And given how quickly Microsoft are losing market share in the browser market (it’s now just above 50%), they have real cause for concern. If Chrome OS takes off, Google will start to hurt more than Microsoft’s pride.

That’s still a big “if” though. For all their mistakes Microsoft are still the top dog of software. Despite the current media hyperbole about Chrome OS, Windows still commands 90% of the market share in operating systems. Even if Chrome lives up to the hype, it will still take years to get a foothold. Only one thing is certain about this battle — peace talks are unlikely to begin anytime soon.

We’re in for a long slog and I don’t think anyone can accurately predict a winner. What we can be sure of is that the conflict will change software (and the Internet) forever.

– Alistair Fairweather writes for The Witness
newspaper in Kwa-Zula Natal, South Africa

First Android phone in SA

MTN has teamed up with HTC distributor Leaf International Communications to launch the HTC Dream mobile handset. This mobile device is the first in South Africa to make use of the new open source Android operating system, which is owned by one of the world’s best known brands, Google.

The HTC Dream gives users one-touch access to their favourite Google products such as Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube. Unlike other operating systems that treat search functionality as an “extra”, the entire Android operating system was moulded around the core of search functionality.

HTC Dream

The software is completely open source and allows users to download a host of free applications as well as customise every facet of the HTC Dream – from the dialler, browser and photo viewer, to the core applications normally locked into the operating system.

“MTN is proud to be the first operator in South Africa to offer its customers a revolutionary smartphone that will change the way we use mobile technology,” says Donovan Smith – General Manager of Consumer Segments at MTN SA

FEATURES
The HTC Dream features a large, sensationally crisp 3.2-inch (8.1 cm) display with a resolution of 320X480. The touch-sensitive screen navigation is finger-friendly and super intuitive. The display switches from portrait to landscape mode when the keyboard is opened. It has a sliding five-row QWERTY keyboard that comes with a set of six navigation buttons.

The HTC Dream includes a GPS receiver and a microSD card slot that supports storage capacities of up to 16GB. The device comes standard with a 1GB microSD card. A fast, full web browser brings the power of the web to your phone and displays up to eight web pages simultaneously to open networks.

All applications integrate seamlessly with one another, alert you to events occurring in other applications and allow you to switch in and out of functions while on a call.

“The HTC Dream with Android will cater for any type of user whether you are a university student or the CEO of a company. By giving our customers instant access to Google services, we are ensuring that MTN sets the pace with innovative and convenient product offerings in both the local and African telecoms market,” says Smith

In view of the advanced data capabilities and applications offered on the HTC Dream, MTN is offering it to customers on the MTN AnyTime 350 package for R529 per month, which includes R350 worth of airtime and 100MB worth of data per month. With MTN’s new broadband offer, once the inclusive 100MB is used up, customers can buy as many additional data bundles as they need.

Sweet!

The world at your finger tips

REVIEW: The Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Stick

Monique Tyrer

ALTHOUGH I missed my monthly phone fix from Vodashop Midlands this month, the outlet provided something different to satisfy my techno cravings that was just as fun to review — the Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Stick.

Slightly longer than your average USB flash drive, this handy Internet stick gives you a mobile Internet connection via your phone’s sim-card for either your laptop or desktop computer, allowing you to work from anywhere through a speedy Internet connection.

The “plug and play” capabilities of this nifty device work on both Windows and Mac computers through three different network connections — HSDPA, 3G and GPRS. The light on the stick also flashes a different colour to let you know which signal you are connected to, although all the connections are faster on average than a normal dial-up.

The Vodafone Mobile Connect USB StickThe installation data is stored on the actual USB stick itself, so there is no need to worry about installing the software with a CD, which means you can take your Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Stick with you anywhere and install it on a number of computers — a truly mobile solution for business and pleasure on the go.

The installation process was painless, and within a few minutes, the stick was ready for use. The stick also doubles as a flash drive to store information, with an additional microSD card slot available that can hold cards of up to 4GB.

Once the programme was installed, Internet browsing was quick and painless, and viewing websites such as YouTube was no problem for this small, but powerful, device. Downloading information was also really fast, and I was impressed with how this broadband USB stick had no problem handling the data.

With the programmes that come with the device, I was able to send and receive smses from my laptop, as well as view information such as signal strength, length of connectivity and the volume of data being received or sent.

This is really handy to monitor your usage, as you are charged according to how much data you use.

Monique Tyrer writes for the Natal Witness newspaper and other publications in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Article supplied by Mall Talk.

Archived in Gadgets & Tech

DigitalLife Expo highlights

The DigitalLife Expo – one of South Africa’s largest digital technology expositions, takes place from 27 to 29 March 2009 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. Here a few highlights that you can expect this year.

The Digital Home
Take a walk through the Digital Home, which includes a teenage pad, children’s room, study/home office, home theatre room and entertainment room, and find out how you can integrate these new technologies into your lifestyle.

Each room is packed full of the latest in digital and broadband technology. The idea is to give visitors a sense of the digital home of today and what it might be like living in one. If you do not have the abilities of King Midas you can at least get a feel of what it might be like living the most contemporary digital lifestyle. 

Superheroes and cyber-pets
You can meet Vernon Koekemoer in person at the DigitalLife Expo, along with Wowee the Roboquad – a four-legged spider-like robot thingy that has an almost eerie sense of awareness and mobility.

Wowee the RoboquadLiterally created and launched in cyberspace, Vernon is himself a strapping example of technology in action. He’s the apparent product of a viral campaign called “Let’s make Vernon famous”, and people everywhere have taken to “the Koek” like a toothpick to biltong.

Free workshops
If you’ve got the latest digital gear, but do you know your way around it, take advantage of free workshops and become a pro. Step into the future of mapping technology, learn more about digital photography, digital content, home entertainment, smartphone tools and broadband connectivity.

Six workshops will be held daily that will not only teach enthusiasts how to use new digital technologies, but also offer tips and tricks on how to integrate existing ones into their lifestyles. DigitalLife is offering free entrance to the expo to anyone who pre-registers online for any of the workshops.

Win big!
Visitors to the DigitalLife Expo stand the chance of winning digital products and technologies on display in the DigitalLife Expo’s walk-through Digital Home to the value of R250 000 including security systems, a media centre, a home theatre system, digital camera, mobile phones and more.

Top brands on display
Explore the cream of the digital crop. Get to grips with the latest technology from mobile phones to notebooks, multimedia players and home entertainment systems, home-automation and digital security systems – all under one roof.

Click here for a full list of exhibitors that you can expect to see this year.

Exclusive Windows 7 promotion
See it, experience it and stand a chance to win it. The first 250 people to visit the expo each day will receive a pre-release version of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system (believed to be the bee’s knees).

New product launches
Loads of hot-off-the-press digital technology products will be launched at the DigitalLife Expo, including iriver digital media players, the new T3 SecurityKey, Asus PCs and netbooks, Iomega network storage drives and Tesla’s latest home automation imports.

DionWired
DionWired, the consumer electronics and appliances concept store, is the expo’s official Digital Retail Store sponsor. The store will showcase its complete range of digital products and consumer-oriented services.

DionWired has also developed a long list of fantastic packages and special offers available exclusively to DigitalLife Expo visitors, so be sure to visit their stand.

Win shopping vouchers
Shopping vouchers are up for grabs every day at the DigitalLife Expo. To kick-start your digital shopping experience, ‘do Broadband’, powered by Telkom, will be giving away R5 000 shopping vouchers to visitors every day at the expo.

To enter, complete the entry form to be found at the entrance to the expo and drop it off at the ‘do Broadband’ stand.

Ticket prices

  • Adults R20,00
  • Student Ages (13-18) and college students R8,00
  • Pensioner Ages (60+) R8,00

You can buy your tickets online here.

Sling this into your gadget collection

SLINGBOX: Embracing broadband and digital media

PAGING through an old GQ the other day I came across a gadget that struck a new interest. The “Slingbox” (weird name) is a TV streaming device that allows you to remotely view your home cable, satellite, or personal video recorder (PVR) programming using a device with a broadband Internet connection.

It connects to the back of your TV and works by redirecting or “placeshifting” up to four live audio/video signals to your personal computer, laptop, or internet-enabled mobile device whether you’re touring China or are in London on a business trip. And there’s no anxiety of having yet another gadget to clutter up your home – once your Slingbox is installed you never have to see it again.

The SlingboxSling Media has also released a Windows Mobile version of their player which allows users to stream their video over a Pocket PC or Windows Mobile Smartphones, or any web-enabled, Windows mobile-powered cellphone. This is useful for practical reasons as a cellphone is easier to stuff into your duffle bag when traveling to the most remote locations.

The Slingbox also allows you to program your home recording device remotely, which means that you can command your device to record programs from anywhere. So no more having to phone the kids at home to ask them to record Prison Break for you, or having to rely on an unreliable in-law.

Yet, like Manto Tshabalala, the Slingbox isn’t perfect. The system is not yet reliable or broadband enough to handle live remote broadcasts, and is not yet available for Linux or other opensource systems. It also requires a fair amount of techno savvy to set up, which can be a bit of a schlep, yet there is decent customer support available. SlingCommunity, for example, is an interactive online community dedicated solely to Sling Media’s Slingbox.

The cons
It is, however, important to bear in mind that the viewing quality is that of web video (i.e. 320x240pixels). Consequently you basically need to have twenty-twenty vision to be able to view everything properly on the small video-viewer screen. This renders on-screen text such as sports scores, news reels, and the fine-print print in bank adverts as unreadable.

The Slingbox is also only as good as its device support and relies on your primary video device being compatible. So just like upgrading a PC, you might have to buy more than you initially bargained for.

In terms of future developments, it was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show that Sling Media plans to release a future feature known as Clip+Sling. This will allow users to share clips of their favorite TV shows (or videos that they have produced themselves) with each other through a hosted web service.

Sling has also pledged that its software will work on the forthcoming Origami Ultramobile PCs (you can read more about this nifty gadget here).

The Slingbox is currently going for $200 (roughly R1400) and appears to be a useful gadget to add to ones collection. Let’s just hope that true broadband hits SA soon so we can play too.

Links
Slingbox Homepage
Other Sling Media Products
CNET’s exclusive First Look video using Sling software.
Related blog post: Welcome to your future

Your digital life in your pocket

REVIEW: The OQO 02 ultra-portable PC

Windows Vista seems to be what all the ‘cool’ geeks are investing in nowadays; however, the hefty hardware requirements that the operating system demands is a bit of a problem for the less successful geeky entrepreneurs.

Yet their remains hope fellow geeks! The fully Windows Vista-compatible ultra-portable PC has been released as the ultimate solution for those who find that a smart phone simply isn’t enough while a lap-top over-caters for one’s needs.

“Fast,” “intuitive,” “helpful,” and “sexy” are not terms often associated with Windows devices, but technology reviewers argue that the ultra-portable PC mimics many of the functions of a full PC, via an advanced touch-screen interface, which they are describing as “potentially revolutionary”.

The OQO 02, as one of the newest ultra-portable PCs, belongs to a new generation of miniaturised Windows computers that can run the same software as Windows desktops and laptops but are designed to be used from the couch, conference room, or from an airplane seat.

OQO engineers are even prophesising that 2008 is the year when US computer buyers will turn to ‘ultramobile PCs’ as a practical alternative to beefier desktop and laptop computers.

It’s not size that counts, but how you use it
The new OQO 02 is a mere 14 centimeters wide, 8 centimeters high, and 3 centimeters thick, making it small enough to fit in your jacket pocket or purse.

It comes with a 1.5-gigahertz processor, an 800-by-480-pixel touch screen, a slide-out keyboard, and three kinds of wireless connectivity. It is able to run standard Windows programs from the Firefox browser to Adobe Photoshop.

With regards to connection speeds, it may not be as fast as a home DSL or cable Internet connection, but is much faster than previous generations of cellular data networks.

The OQO 02

Target market
Manufacturers of OQO devices have focused sales on the professional user rather than the bored teenager, and have already attracted business customers who need small PCs for field inspections and similar mobile activities.

As a mobile journalist, Bob Rosin – marketing vice president of OQO, put the practicality of the ultra-portable PC into context, saying:

“If you’re a mobile professional, you need to be connected to the Web and access applications as part of your daily life – so your computer needs to be small enough and light enough that you’re willing to take it with you when you leave your desk.”

Unique features / characteristics
But what makes the OQO 02 special when compared to older ultra-mobile PCs? Well for many the most appealing thought is having the power of a full Windows PC in the palm of their hand. That aside, some manufacturers are working on simplifying onscreen interfaces so that users can get more things done with fewer gestures and clicks.

Users also have the ability to zoom in on an area of detail and to scroll vertically or horizontally with the brush of a finger along the screen, eliminating the need for a mechanical thumbwheel found on many PDAs.

Similar devices have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and are operated solely via a touch screen. However, these have not been marketed as office appliances, but rather as entertainment devices enabling users to browse the Web and access videos, music, and photos.

Is it all too good to be true?
The OQO 02 is not without its flaws. Battery life is an issue, which totals a miniscule 4 hours worth, which reviewers argue is not long enough to keep a businessperson busy for the duration of a transcontinental flight. Another issue is the small screen and keyboard, which is a problem for people with poor eye-sight and large thumbs.

Currently ultra-portable PCs such as the OQO 02 are seeing poor sales (going from anywhere between R7000 to R14 000), but manufacturers feel that the product will take off once they become more general-purpose devices. Being able to browse the web while simultaneously controlling the TV and stereo system from the couch, for example, appears to be where the major marketing potential lies.

Links
Just for fun: A portable portal into another world?
Related Info: Your life at the touch of your finger
Read full review: Smaller Is Better, Say Makers of Ultraportable PCs