Wireless News blog archives

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Death to the handheld?
Well, I'm not sure I'm ready to call the mortician, but Wireless Newsfactor has a column by Ephraim Schwartz about a partnership between Nextel and General Motors "to market a field-force management application to its commercial truck fleet customers."
"The announcement casts a shadow over the future of handheld devices in the business marketplace," Schwartz goes on to say.
Does it? And more importantly does it matter if the handheld goes away as long as it is replaced by something that can do the job?
Which brings me to a discussion I had Friday morning with Randy Broukman, CEO of Arlington, Va-based Telispark.
Broukman had some interesting things to say, including that the technology wasn't what mattered. What mattered was getting the job done.
This isn't a new point. Since I've been at Computerworld, people have been talking about the emerging role of the CIO in terms of how the position is becoming one of the key members of any company's business leadership team.
So, I guess this means the larger part is who cares if the handheld dies? Aside from handheld makers that is. What do you think?

June 20, 2003

It's going to be an RFID world
And I'm not sure how I feel about that.
While I was at DCI's CRM conference in Boston this week I heard Creative Strategies Inc. President Tim Bajarin say that RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags will gain even greater importance for the business world in the next few years.
"If you haven't studied it," Bajarin said. "Put it on the map."
I've had stories here in the past about companies putting RFID tags on retail items to cut down on theft, but Bajarin says the RFID tag is going to be everywhere. He pointed to a recent call by Wal-Mart for its suppliers to start using RFID tags to track inventory.
If Wal-Mart wants RFID tags, they will be everywhere, Bajarin says. Including, no doubt, in my shoes.
Which brings me to my mixed feelings about RFID tags. Yes, they would make inventory control a breeze. A business would know where all its assets were at any given moment. But they would also know where I am at any given moment.
Not that I care if Wal-Mart knows where I am. But as Bajarin points out, the day may come where you just go into a store, pick items off the shelf and walk out the door. The cost of the items is calculated as you pass through the door and the money automatically deducted from your bank account. I'm a little leery about that, I must say.
But I wonder how many of us will decide that convenience and efficiency matter more than having a semi-public bank account?
I don't have an answer for that one.

June 16, 2003

Nokia 3G phones arrive
The Wireless News Factor has a good story on Nokia's rollout of its 3G phone. The article has some solid analysis into what this means for Nokia, as well as for 3G in general. InternetNews also had a story on Nokia's announcement.

Wi-Fi will complement not compete, say analysts
Thor Olavsrud has a piece on Internetnews that suggests Wi-Fi is a complementary piece to the world's overall communication infrastructure and won't knock out other methods, wired or otherwise.

Shut up and write
OK, that's a little harsh, but some of you didn't like my ramblings telling people to put down their cell phones and concentrate on their driving while they were in cars, trucks and SUVs. The reader comments basically pointed out that the poor, maligned cell phone is getting way too much of the blame. CD players, radios, GPS displays, etc. all contribute to driver diversions, they pointed out. And I have to agree with all of that and add a few from my days as a junior private detective (I really did work for a short time for a private eye). Those other diversions are bees and cigarettes, both of which, I can attest, caused some very nasty accidents when they flew up pant legs or get dropped on the seat.
But while all of these things do lead to distractions, especially for those like myself, who just can't seem to find a good song on the radio, none of them seem to have the same impact as the cell phone. Here is a story from a year ago about a University of Rhode Island study that shows talking on a cell phone while driving goes way beyond just an average distraction. So I stand by my original rant: hang up and drive.

June 9, 2003

SARS and competition strike at Motorola
Motorola rolled back investor expectations saying that SARS was having a bigger impact on its business in Asia. Bloomberg News carried a story on the earnings announcement by the Shaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola this morning.
Motorola also blamed the poor earnings on a surplus of inventory, but as Bloomberg's story pointed out there is also tough competition from handset makers throughout Asia that is also adding to the company's problems.

Qualcomm takes back Wireless Knowledge
A few years back Qualcomm, in partnership with Microsoft, created Wireless Knowledge as a joint venture. In time, Microsoft left the deal and now Qualcomm has pulled the plug altogether on Wireless Knowledge as a separate entity, RCR Wireless News has the full story. Wireless Knowledge specialized in managing wireless projects.

June 3, 2003

Hang up and drive… again
Here's another one of those stories that I get in trouble for pointing out because they "don't fit our mission" but I am going to point it out anyway for mean-spirited, gleeful reasons. California wants to make it illegal to talk on a cell phone and drive. RCR Wireless News has the story here.
The fines, if the law passes, would be modest -- $20 for first time offenders and $50 for repeat violators. I would like the fines to be more severe, like death, which is how some third world countries deal with driving and drawling. OK, that is probably too much and I obviously have some irrational irritation for people who converse and careen their way down life's highway so I will just stop here. They should take their phones away and throw them in the Pacific. OK, I will stop, really, I promise.

Merger mania all over again
Well, it is a day for old stories to come back again. This time it's an analysis in Internetnews.com that suggests we may be on the verge of another round of consolidation and mergers in the telecom/wireless industry. The analysis by Mark Berniker lays out some interesting scenarios and backs everything up with quotes from industry analysts. I recommend taking a look.

Chip news
Internetnews.com also has a story on Intel's fine tuning of the Centrino chipset. The idea behind the fiddling is that the chipsets, first released in March, will have greater speed and more security. Here's the same story from Wireless News Factor and our related story as well. And finally, here is Intel's own press release.

May 30, 2003

Security news from HP and Cisco
Wireless News Factor has a story on the latest offerings from Hewlett-Packard and Cisco in regards to security. The HP offering seems intriguing enough that I might actually pick up the phone and give them a call. If I do I will report back on what I find but you already knew that, didn't you? Oh, and here is Computerworld's story on the Cisco deal.

Many phones one bill
All I could think of when I saw the story on Wireless News that AT&T was going to put both wireless and landline charges into a single phone bill was e pluribus unum, which of course translates to something like out of many, one. I was also thinking about money, too, which makes sense because we are talking about bills here. So where am I going with all of this? Well, I think it's a pretty good idea. I don't like bills, especially multiple bills for similar services, so if they want to bundle everything into one big monthly charge that's fine with me. But does this mean they're going to shut off all your phones if you're late with a payment?

Palm your phone
Palm announced that its new Tungsten C can be turned into a phone. Here is a story from Wireless Week.

Planning for a mobile deployment
Alright, it's time for a little news you can use. So here's a story from MobileGuy.com on how to plan for a mobile deployment. I like stories like this because they give someone else's checklist. I find that helpful because there is always a chance that somebody might have had a better idea.

May 20, 2003

AT&T wants back in
According to this story by Bloomberg News reporter Tom Giles, AT&T wants to break back into the world of wireless. Who can blame them? It is really the place where all the fashionable people want to be these days.
Two years ago AT&T spun off its mobile division but now, according to Mr. Giles' story
John Polumbo, head of AT&T's consumer operations, says: "We need a wireless play."
Stay tuned, we're sure there is more coming on this front.

Wi-Fi woes
Every time you turn around these days it seems that someone is talking about the problems with Wi-Fi security. Here is another example from the Wireless News Factor.
And speaking of Wi-Fi, just wanted to point out I am running another column from Professor Rajit Gadh. Professor Gadh is one of our regular columnists and is a professor at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA, where he heads the Wireless Internet for Mobile Enterprise Consortium.

SARS and 3G
This year's 3G World Congress is moving to Bangkok, according to this story in Wireless Week. The conference was originally scheduled for Hong Kong in June but now the venue, as well as the time, has been changed – it is in November now. That gives me an extra five months to convince my boss to fly me to Asia.

May 16, 2003

Say good-bye to CDPD
Verizon has announced it will shut down its CDPD network by December 2005. RCR Wireless News has the story on its Web site. The news was expected and follows a similar announcement by AT&T.

More competition for Qualcomm Inc.
RCR Wireless News had another intriguing story about the competitive challenges to Qualcomm's dominance of the CDMA market.
"Following a trend by wireless players to chip away at Qualcomm Inc.'s stranglehold on the CDMA market, Nokia Corp., Texas Instruments and STMicroelectronics announced a joint development program to offer chipsets for CDMA2000 1X and 1XEV-DV," the story written by Sam Omatseye says.
This is an interesting development because Qualcomm touts its CDMA2000 as the way 3G should and will go in North America.

And speaking of Qualcomm…
I had an opportunity to meet with three Qualcomm folks on Thursday, Jan Dehesh, vice president of enterprise market development; Jeff Ross, director of marketing; and Emily Gin, a senior public relations manager.
They made a great pitch for CDMA2000 and handed me a list of case studies, which I am still sorting out. Then they took on Wi-Fi and asked me directly why coverage has been so Wi-Fi heavy lately. It was a good question.
To be honest, it is just because I have been getting a lot of Wi-Fi related pieces and it seems like many companies are announcing the creation of hot spots.. While I think the hot spot concept is an interesting one, I have also begun to formulate the opinion that hot spots are more flash than substance.
Recently I had a friend pitch me a story about banks setting up hot spots in their lobbies. I said I didn't see what the story was. To me setting up a hot spot in the lobby of a bank would be the IT equivalent of giving away a lollipop. I mean it would be fun for people standing in line waiting for a teller but beyond that, what purpose would it serve?
Why go to a bank lobby to access your account online when you can talk to a teller? If you want to bank at home you should stay home. All I could see was that it was a nice thing to do to entertain the bored people with great gadgets standing in the lobby.
Of course, many of you may disagree, and if you do, I'd love to hear from you. So e-mail me at brian_sullivan@computerworld.com

May 2, 2003

Turn off those cell phones when the cabin door closes
This isn't the kind of story that I usually put in the blog but I thought it was worth noting. Cell phones really do cause havoc with aircraft navigation systems. Here is a BBC story on the trouble that cell phones have caused on a number of flights. The next time you're on an airplane and the knucklehead next to you keeps blabbing on his or her cell phone you can confront them with the facts and maybe save your own life. I must say that is one of the reasons I like riding the Acela between Boston, New York and D.C. No one can use phones in "the quiet car." Too bad they didn't have quiet planes.
The nice thing, in Britain anyway, is that they seem to be willing to fine and jail people who refuse to turn off their phones in flight. If you read the story you'll see that one man was fined 2,500 pounds and another got some jail time.

Bad news for InfoSpace
I am tempted to leave these items out of the blog because there are just so many of them these days that I feel like I'm pointing out dogs biting men. On the other hand, it's part of what's going on. So, here is an RCR Wireless News story on InfoSpace's first quarter loss.

Mobile Wireless World
I'll be at Mobile Wireless World from May 6 to 9 in Palm Desert, Calif. If you see me, stop and say hello. I'd love to meet some readers and would be interested in hearing what's on your mind. So, don't be shy.

April 30, 2003

Another use for headsets
I like this idea. Wireless News Factor has a story on how to solve the problem of the conference call. Instead of crowding around a speaker phone sitting in the middle of a table, everyone in the room could be connected via a wireless headset, the story says. A much better solution if you ask me.

Bad news for Ericsson from all over
Here is a sampling of the stories about Ericsson's latest troubles from around the Web:

Reuters also included the news in its market roundup but only to say investors were pleased by the news the company was cutting costs.

Product discussion
Richard Bloor, a columnist at Wireless Developers Network, writes about the Metrowerks' CodeWarrior Wireless Development Kit for Symbian OS, Nokia 3650 Edition in the latest edition of his column.
Bloor covers the high points of the kit and gives a clear run down of what he likes and dislikes.

A list of development articles
You might want to keep this URL in your bookmarks because it is actually a list of stories focusing on development. The list was compiled by FTPOnline.

April 22, 2003

What's with the date?
I keep adding to this file, so I want you all to be able to find the latest news without having to wonder what's new and what's not. We imprint the date on the story files themselves, but that changes every time we re-launch the file. This way, you'll be able to look at the list of blog items and know when it appeared without the guesswork.
And while we're on the subject of blog items, send them to me! I am eager, ready and willing to get tips, stories and Web sites that are related to all things wireless. Send them to brian_Sullivan@computerworld.com.

BusinessWeek looks at Wi-Fi
BusinessWeek magazine, in print and online has a special feature on Wi-Fi. The articles cover everything from quick and easy explanations to what Wi-Fi is to commentary about its future. This would be a good primer for anyone who you think needs to get up to speed on what Wi-Fi is all about. Put a copy on the person's desk or send the link in an e-mail.

The next big thing
So are we looking at a big trend? The Wireless NewsFactor wonders if that is the case since "Intec Telecom Systems recently launched a WLAN settlement and billing product." The point, the News Factor says, is that this "could signal the readiness of major telecom companies to embrace 802.11-enabled access as a paid service."
The NewsFactor then goes on to wonder what this will mean to the creators of hot spots. Who will be walking who's turf if the big companies start to provide their own service and how will it all shake out. It's a bit heavy on the consumer angle, but it's interesting to watch the world change before our eyes just the same.

The older stuff

Paying for the 3G transfer
A bill that would set up a fund to defray the costs of moving the military off the 1700 MHz band hasn't received a lot of support from the Bush administration, according to this story on RCR News.
The big goal is to move the military off those frequencies so they can be used by 3G wireless plans. But that means changing the military's radios, and to cover that cost lawmakers from both parties wanted to take proceeds from the auctions of licenses to help defray the costs. But the initial reaction of the Bush administration has been only so-so.

Beaming down to profitability
Well, profitability is what satellite operators hope to capture now that the FCC has allowed them to reuse their frequencies and offer services similar to cellular. according to this piece in Wireless News Factor.
Here's the idea in a nutshell: Companies would be allowed to use ancillary terrestrial components to help get their signal from space to places where it can be used. Right now the carriers have been unable to penetrate things like buildings with satellite signals.
Wireless News Factor says this industry has been hurting for years and the new strategy might help generate some revenue.

Wi-Fi for those who fly
Add LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark airports have begun to go Wi-Fi adding to the list of places where one can go mobile. RCRNews is reporting that deployment has begun at the airports controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
And for every action there has to be a reaction. It seems that all these moves to set up Wi-Fi clouds has begun to be felt by the cellular industry. Wireless News Factor has a story that suggests the pressure on cellular companies could kick off a round of mergers and more trouble for an industry that has had its problems since the downturn began.

A new take on the term fried
Here's an item that's a little off topic, but not too far. Microwaving Iraq's weapons

A new technology that disables the electronics that control weapons ranging from "an enemy's radar to its laptops" without killing people has been developed and may debut during the war with Iraq, the Washington Post reports. The weapon uses powerful microwaves to destroy electronic systems.

Intel Wi-Fi moves

News of Wi-Fi alliances have been popping up all over the place lately. RCR Wireless News and Computerworld have the details of the latest between Borders and Intel. Intel also invested in four Wi-Fi companies this week as well according to RCR. The company said the investments were another step in its attempt to build worldwide, high-speed networks.
Meanwhile, McDonald's and Hilton have also jumped into the Wi-Fi arena. WirelessWeek.com has a piece on McDonald's decision to offer wireless access along with French Fries and Big Macs. And Allnetdevices.com has this story on how all three are looking to cast their Wi-Fi nets.

Nokia and TV

The Wireless NewsFactor reports that Nokia has introduced a new phone that will allow consumers to take photos and then download their pictures onto their TV screens. The author says that "consumers were clamoring for mobile phones that doubled as cameras." Well, I have to seriously wonder about that because of all the reports that have arrived on the scene since January of how poorly such phones have actually done on the market. I think these things are, for the time being, just more toys for the gadget-ocracy.

Another great idea to help Big (corporate) Brother

Well, clothing maker Benetton wants to weave radio frequency ID (RFID) chips into its clothing. The idea is that it will make it easier to track inventory and cut down on theft when the clothes are on store shelves. Prada, the story says, evidently already does this.
However, privacy advocates say it will also make anyone with a RFID receiver track people wearing Benetton clothes. That would include, the story points out companies looking to sell products to people who wear Benetton or Prada clothing. I wonder what demographic that would be? I am sure someone in marketing will figure it out quickly. All I know is that I don't have to worry about it until Goodwill starts putting chips in the clothing it sells.

FCC give NextWave almost two years to build

The Federal Communications Commission has given NextWave Telecom Inc. almost 2 years to build its national network, according to a story on the RCRNews Website. NextWave had been battling for its survival after the FCC took away its wireless licenses and auctioned them off to other carriers after the company declared bankruptcy. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the FCC had over stepped its bounds and returned the licenses to NextWave, which is in the middle of constructing a nationwide wireless network.

Security advisory

According to a story in RCR Wilreless News, hackers can allegedly use a text message to crash a Nokia Corp. 6210 mobile phone, said security company @stake Inc. in a security advisory.

Self-regulating WLANs

Intel is working on a plan that would allow wireless networks to manage themselves, according to a story on the BBC this morning. The network would be able to determine the best path to move data around to users and will reconfigure itself when devices enter and leave the network. There are a few security issues that Intel says need to be addressed.

New phone announcements come out of Cannes

Both Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications and AlphaCell have announced new handsets at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes. Sony Ericsson said it is releasing a Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) 3G phone, according to a story in RCRNews.com, which also reported the AlphaCell news. Of the two, the Sony Ericsson news is probably the most interesting because it is UMTS, which means it is a real entry into true 3G systems and not a 2.5 G device being sold as 3G. UMTS is "synonymous with WCDMA," according to the UMTS Forum. WCDMA radio access tecnology has been adopted by 112 licensees worldwide and is already in use in Japan.

Ericsson to lay off 1,200

RCR Wireless News reports Ericsson will lay off 1,200 IT workers.

More layoffs at Nokia

According to this Reuters story Nokia will cut at least 550 jobs due to flagging sales of its products.

AT&T Wireless cuts free minutes

According to Reuters, AT&T Wireless plans to cut back on the number of free minutes available in its mobile plans. The company also plans to cut the number of plans themselves.

Siemens Speedstream SS 2521 Powerline 802.11 access point reviewed

Tom's Hardware Guide reviews the Siemens wireless access point in its latest edition. The device allows for powerline networking, which is used by some to create small networks.

Pay as you go

According to this story on RCR Wireless News, the White House has asked for re-introduction of legislation that would create a spectrum relocation fund. The fund would be used to offset the cost of moving military frequencies to make way for third-generation mobile systems.

TI shows off new chips

Texas Instruments released five new OMAP chipsets for smart phones and PDAs, the Internet News reported today.

News of the strange

Well, it might be something companies have to consider in terms of the long-term potential for lawsuits and such, but here is a story by a Bloomberg reporter that says the signals in cell phones cause nerve damage in rats.

AT&T to enter Wi-Fi

InternetNews.com reports that AT&T will enter the Wi-Fi market in an attempt to turn around flagging revenues.

PDA sales down

Security, cost, and wireless infrastructure problems have all combined to slow sales of PDAs according to a story in RCR Wireless News.

Supreme Court backs NextWave

A U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down this morning means that NextWave Telecom Inc. will be able to keep a series of spectrum licenses that the FCC was trying to sell to other carriers.
NextWave had bought the licenses at auction and had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection before it paid off the FCC. The FCC then ruled NextWave in default and resold the licenses to other companies, such as Verizon.
But NextWave countered that the licenses were property and protected by the banruptcy court. The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in NextWave's favor, which gives the struggling wireless carrier a chance to launch its planned nationwide network.
Here's our story.

Phone number for life

RCR Wireless News reports that the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association has asked the Federal Communications Commission to rule on whether customers can keep their phone numbers when transferring among mobile phone services.

Free wireless broadband?
The Wireless News Factor has a special report that says free wireless broadband may be coming in the future. But the article says that while some people enjoy free wireless broadband now, the day when it is free to all is still a ways off for a variety of reasons, including "shifting business models and a lack of public commitment."

We have all seen the television ads promoting mobile camera phones. My personal favorite is the one where the woman finds the "Ivory Toad of Shanghai" at a yard sale. Well, it seems that few of us lead such lives of glamour and glitz because sales of the new phones seem to stink, according to this story from Reuters.

News on the security front
The Wireless News Factor is reporting that chipmaker AMD is releasing a "new flash memory technology designed to frustrate signal thieves and prevent fraudulent call billing."

W3C calls for new standards
In an attempt to help "high-end gadgets better adapt to the way video games and other graphics-oriented software are displayed, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) yesterday recommended that Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.1 and Mobile SVG profiles be anointed standards," according to a story on Internetnews.com.

Millions of SMS messages lost every month
A new study says that not only are millions of messages lost, but the quality of the connection between two users often depends on which network they are both using, according to a Reuters story.

Four gig on a quarter
Hitachi and IBM are planning to bring out disks the size of a U.S. quarter that will be able to hold up to four GB of data, according to a story on the Wireless News Factor. IBM is also trying to develop even more powerful and smaller disks, the story says. Obviously, this will be a great help to wireless and mobile devices, so stay tuned. IDG News had a related story about more deals between IBM and Hitachi and more plans for the future.

Wireless customer satisfaction data unveiled
RCRNews has a story on the latest data from Consumer Reports concerning customer satisfaction. Among the information gathered by the Consumer Reports' survey is that one-third of all wireless subscribers are thinking of changing their carriers. Another nugget: Verizon Wireless Inc. has the highest customer satisfaction. The short piece touches on some of the trends that will affect any business thinking about using a wireless strategy to reach customers or tie together its own business operations.

Wi-Fi Alliance starts branding program
According to this All Net Devices' story the Wi-Fi Alliance is going to start branding sites that have Wi-Fi access as Wi-Fi Zones. So, places like Starbucks that are wired would be able to display a Wi-Fi Zone sign to make it easier for the public to know where the friendly "hot" spots are.
The darker side of wireless tech
Well, I suppose it had to happen sooner or later: A Wisconsin man allegedly used a GPS device to stalk his ex-girlfriend. According to CNN, a 42-year-old man was charged after investigators found the GPS device under the hood of his ex-girlfriend's car.

The Wireless Weblog archives
Who said you can't go back in time? Read all the old installments here.

The darker side of wireless tech
Well, I suppose it had to happen sooner or later: A Wisconsin man allegedly used a GPS device to stalk his ex-girlfriend. According to CNN, a 42-year-old man was charged after investigators found the GPS device under the hood of his ex-girlfriend's car.

Wireless person of the year
RCR Wireless News has named Dennis Strigl, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless Inc. as its Person of the Year. Every year the magazine chooses the person who has had the greatest impact on the wireless industry for the honor.

Phone in those photos
According to this story on The Street.com, the wireless sector is hoping the addition of cameras to phones will give a boost to sales. Those T-Mobile TV ads that have been playing the benefits of having a camera built into your cell phone so you can buy "ivory toad of Shanghai" evidently are just the beginning. In the first quarter of 2003, the airwaves should be full of ads for all kinds of phones with the same or similar capability.

Want to see the future of wireless infrastructure?
Canada-based 21st Century Airships Inc. is reportedly in the process of developing unmanned airships that will float about 65,000 feet high and serve as transmitter platforms for wireless carriers. According to the company's Web site, the ships are currently undergoing their initial flight trials. In November, Atlanta-based Sanswire released a press release about the project.

FCC begins to look at more wireless frequencies
Internetnews.com and WirelessWeek.com both had stories on the FCC's efforts to open up more frequencies for use by wireless networks and carriers. The FCC has said it will begin calling for public comment on the plan.

Bluetooth goes brown
WirelessNews.com also reports that United Parcel Service plans to deploy 55,000 Bluetooth scanners and Wi-Fi terminals next year. Computerworld first reported this story in July 2001.

Bluetooth ready?
InternetNews.com reports the Bluetooth Special Interest Group has unveiled a "5-Minute Ready" program designed to "ensure interoperability among Bluetooth devices and make it possible for consumers to rapidly set up devices."

And how about a Bluetooth Audi?
WirelessWeek.com has a story on a number of new gadgets and ideas coming out of the Bluetooth Developers Conference in San Jose, including a Bluetooth Audi. Check it out.

Disney says no to Palm PDAs
Also on InternetNews.com is a story about an internal Disney memo telling its employees that the company will only support Blackberry PDAs and Compaq IPAQs. Employees who own other types of devices will not receive any help or support from the IT deptartment at Mickey Mouse central.

Just put the car seat a little closer to the wheel
How long will it be before stories like this one are everywhere? Seems a toddler ate the wireless chip off his mother's keys that allowed her to start her Ford Focus. The car wouldn't start without the chip so they pushed the kid up next to the ignition. The car started and they soon were on their way.

RIM's 3G Blackberry makes its US debut
Research in Motion (RIM) has released its voice-enabled handheld – Blackberry 6750 – for U.S. customers. A story on Internetnews.com has all the details.

Bad news for wireless investors
Both in the U.S. and the U.K., investment analysts have downgraded wireless investments for the future. In a story from RCR Wireless News, Bear, Stearns & Co. has downgraded the entire sector for poor performance lately. Meanwhile, The Times of London isreporting that shares in the U.K.'s Cable & Wireless dropped by at least 50% today. The company has a 50% share in U.K. mobile carrier One2One.

Gates' firm buys into Nextel Partners
According to a story on RCR Wireless News, Bill Gates' privately owned investing firm Cascade Investment LLC has bought 3.75 millions shares, or about 5 %, of Nextel Partners' outstanding common stock.

Upswing in phone sales sparking boom in chips
According to a story on WirelessNewsFactor.com, a surge in phone and device sales worldwide in October has sparked something of a boom in the manufacture of semiconductors.

Tell us something we didn't know
Well, we feel compelled to pass this along even though it is quite obvious. It seems that a new study from Harvard University has determined that driving and cell phones have led to a rise in fatal accidents. Which leads us to one of our favorite mottos: Hang up and drive -- you aren't that important.

Something else for the government to regulate
Recycled cell phone numbers are causing problems for new owners and that might lead to new government regulations, according to a story on the Wireless Newsfactor. It seems the services paid for by the former holder of the phone number are now showing up on the new holder's phone and most often these services have price tags to go along with them.

And then there is always Congress
While the FCC is attempting to come up with a plan for wireless spectrum, Wireless Week is reporting that Congress might get into the act, too. It seems Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, is suggesting that Congress should develop its own plan on how the spectrum should be used.

Smart Mobs and Thumb Tribes
Robert D. Hof at WirelessNewsFactor.com wrote an interesting Q&A with author Howard Rheingold, who has a new book "Coming on the Net: People Power." In the book, Rheingold says that always-on, Net-connected cell phones are creating "Thumb Tribes" and "Smart Mobs," that are going to have long lasting changes on society.

Chinese 3G
The Chicago Sun Times has reported China's decision to roll out a homegrown version of 3G might give fits to equipment vendors such as Lucent Technologies Inc., Motorola, Ericsson and Nortel Networks Corp. The Chinese version of 3G -- TD-SCDMA – has forced the manufacturers, which have spent millions working with two other 3G standards, to contemplate an even greater investment.

Mobile data deployments can generate ROI
WirelessNewsFactor.com has a story on an Aberdeen Group study that found that handheld deployments can help companies cut costs and reach ROI in some cases.

Nextel banks on FCC backing
TelecomWeb.com reports Nextel "guarantees" the FCC will back its plan to move public safety activities and private wireless plans out of the 800-MHz band. The proposal is so Nextel's network will not interfere with other communications now on those frequencies. Here is a Computerworld story from August that provides a little more background on the move.

Cracking codes for fun and profit
A researcher at the University of Notre Dame won a $10,000 prize from Ottawa-based Certicom Corp. after he cracked a company encryption code as part of a contest. The teacher told Reuters in this article posted on CNN's Web site that it took him more than a year to crack the code. He said he would donate most of the money to the Free Software Foundation and split the rest with the men who helped him.

More bad news for the industry
Circuit City has lost money on the sale of wireless gadgets and that has WirelessWeek reporting that the loss is a cautionary tale to big wireless carriers and others invested in the industry. Most wireless gadgets are bought from consumer outlets and a slump in sales there could ripple across the industry.

How much did you pay for it?
Want to know how much someone really paid for a sweater? Soon you'll be able to find out just by pointing your PDA at them. Read the whole WirelessNewsFactor story to learn just how annoying our lives may get. Well, maybe not annoying, but certainly loaded with even more information.

Smaller, more powerful, chips coming soon
InternetNews.com has reported that AMD has rolled out a smaller 802.11b chip set that uses less power. The chips are available as samples for now and are expected to see wider distribution next spring.

MWIF joins OMA
InternetNews.com also has a story on the merger of the Mobile Wireless Internet Forum with the Open Mobile Alliance. Neither organization posted press releases on their sites concerning the merger yet, which will see OMA absorb the MWIF. WirelessWeek.com has also posted a story on the merger.

New antenna could boost wireless
The New York Times reported that San Francisco-based Vivato has a new antenna that "could expand the limits" of the Wireless Internet format. Of course, we have out own story on the announcement too.

Wi-Fi Alliance security standards
Here's a story that I am throwing out there just to see what everyone thinks. The Wireless Newsfactor is reporting that the Wi-Fi Alliance has announced new standards for wireless security.

More in the 3G debate
Well, today's installment turned into the "overseas" edition of your Wireless Web Log. Our first story comes from Silicon.com, which is reporting that 3G is gaining ground among Europeans.

The Afghan risk
Next it is off to Afghanistan, which seems to be one of the few places where wireless is booming. CNN reports one of the fastest growing wireless systems in the world right now is in Afghanistan. Although, I am not sure I would invest in it myself quite yet.

More from the hang-up-and-drive file
And finally, we land in the UK where The Register reports that the British government will ban the use of phones, including hands free phones, from cars beginning next year.

Bye-bye slow speed
Reuters reports that AT&T Wireless Services Inc. is shutting down its slow-speed network now that it has built a high-speed service.

Wireless Security How to
Computerworld reader Richard C. Grosser leads us through a step-by-step plan on how he would secure a wireless network.

Newsweek discovers Bluetooth
Here's a quick survey of what's available in Bluetooth and what might be just around the corner from N'Gai Croal of Newsweek.

Intel offers 802.11 a boost
Wireless Week is reporting that chip giant Intel has just moved a chunk of venture capital into 802.11 research.

Slump Worsens
Wireless Week has a story by Margo McCall saying that Ericsson CEO Kurt Hellstrom expects an even deeper decline in wireless equipment sales this year.

3G inroads
The industry slowly and quietly has begun adopting 3G wireless despite conventional wisdom that many commercial implementations lag far behind consumers when embracing the technology, according to a story on Wireless Newsfactor.

3G setbacks
The Taipei Times reports that two Asian telecommunications companies have halted 3G plans while "industry players seek more time to ensure the success of high-speed wireless services."

Chip maker combines base band and radio
Allentown, Pa.-based chipmaker Agere Systems announced it is making a "WL1141 physical layer (PHY) module, which integrates baseband capabilities with the 802.11b 2.4GHz radio on a single chip," says a story in 80211-Planet.

A Security Nightmare:
"Wireless devices could soon be ubiquitous in American business, but the security of their transmissions still has a ways to go," according to this article from the Washington Post's TechNews.com.

3G Gloom
Has 3G run its course? Is the public and industry fed up with it? 3G Newsroom.com looks at what it calls the growing 3G Gloom and wonders if the technology can hold on.

Understanding 802.11 Frame Types
80211-Planet.com offers a tutorial for understanding 802.11 frame types. Which can be key when you are troubleshooting a WLAN and trying to find out what the network is actually doing.

Free from the lines that tie
Robyn Greenspan at CyberAtlas wrote an interesting piece on cutting the chord and going completely wireless. The premise is that people can get rid of their landlines and only use mobile phones for all their communication needs. This would certainly be something companies contemplating a wireless strategy should consider. I promised this story a few weeks back when I came across it in an exclusive CyberAtlas newsletter, well, here it is.

The battle against spam
Sick of getting calls that aren't really calls? You aren't the only one, Wired has a story on the man who wants to take the new California law preventing text message spam national.

Mobile & Wireless World
Computerworld has a new conference -- Mobile & Wireless World -- on Jan. 12 – 15, 2003 at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort, Indian Wells, CA. It will be the place where all the latest technology and hot properties will gather to set the tone for the coming year. If you want more detailed information here is our press release and downloadable sponsor information packet.
Check it out.

Longer lasting batteries on the way
This overview of an In-Stat/MDR report predicts longer lasting batteries and fuel cells might be on the way for wireless devices. The overview has some good information but you have to buy the complete report.

Which should be first?
802.11-Planet.com has a story on the debate over what should come first – dual-band access points or if client users should have support on their wireless devices for multiple protocols.

Balking at the cost of wireless
Are there any real savings in going wireless? According to a report from SupportSoft, there might not be any cost savings at all. A story at RIM Road quotes a Gartner study that says the average maintenance cost for a PDA is about $3,000. And as the devices get more complicated, well as they used to say in my card playing days, "the price to stay and play just went up."

An easier way to take your money
Meanwhile, the University of Southern California, along with a vendor, has launched a program to enable wireless payments at various points around campus, according to a report on allNetDevices.com. Under the terms of the pilot project, faculty and students will be able to use Handspring Treo 180 and 270 communicators to shop at various points around campus.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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