silverpig writes "It now appears that graphene has reached a point worthy of serious, direct industrial attention. The grant money itself comes from the European Union for the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET), but that the work will be done by a large non-governmental company with eyes on developing useful real-world applications is encouraging. Smartphones contain many components with high potential for actually making use of graphene — screens, batteries, ICs.
I'm no expert, but I hope that the funding model will ensure the developments remain in the public domain.
"Nokia is leading the electronic firms within the Graphene Flagship Consortium, which includes 73 other companies and academic institutions from a number of mediums. The Finnish handset manufacturer has received a grant of $1.35 billion to research and develop graphene for practical applications, with the European Union for the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) providing the grant itself.""Link to Original Source
silverpig writes "Wind Mobile's CEO and Chairman Tony Lacavera announced on the wind mobile site that VimpelCom has decided to purchase Wind Telecom for $6 billion. The deal should go through by the middle of this year and may give Canadians cheaper international and roaming rates, as well as giving Wind some extra leverage with its suppliers and handset manufacturers.
The deal is particularly interesting as Wind is one fo the new entrants into the Canadian wireless operator industry and has had to deal with issues regarding Canada's foreign ownership rules. Expect a lot of scrutiny from the CRTC, Bell, Telus, and Rogers."Link to Original Source
silverpig writes "Google has extended the ability of gmail users to call standard phone numbers through their web browser through 2011. It also allows users with a google voice account to make and receive standard phone calls through the browser as well.
Do people still actually use this? I know it got a lot of use in the first few weeks of its existence, but it wasn't always reliable, with dropped calls and skipping audio."Link to Original Source
silverpig writes "Apple has finally approved the official Google Voice app for iOS. After 16 months of being in app-review limbo, the app is finally here, but only for users in the US, and not for iPod Touch users. An interesting use for the app would be to use it as a dialing front end on an iPod touch in concert with a VOIP service, but it seems like this isn't an option for now.
It seems like non-US users can get the app if they have a US iTunes account. You can create a US iTunes account without a credit card by following this Apple article."Link to Original Source
silverpig writes "The first Google Voice app has hit the app store, and it’s called GV Connect. Providing a front end to the Google Voice service, GV Connect allows users of devices running Apple iOS platform to have a native app with which to interact with Google Voice.
What will be interesting to note is the order that these apps are approved in. I know Sean Kovacs was first out with GV Mobile back before Apple banned Google Voice, and while he is in the approval pipeline, this other app has some first mover advantage. I wonder what it means when Google gets their app officially approved as surely it'll be free."Link to Original Source
silverpig writes "The Skype app has mysteriously disappeared from the App Store. For some reason, Skype is no longer available for Apple devices, even though the Skype website still has a page for it. One might think that this is just a temporary glitch, but it doesn't just affect the US version of the App Store, as it has disappeared from at least the Canadian App Store as well. Is it really just a glitch? Is it coming back? Did Apple pull it intentionally?"Link to Original Source
silverpig writes "Skype has just announced that an updated version of its iPhone app has been released to the app store and now allows calling over 3G.
While this functionality has been available on the iPhone since a January update to the SDK, and while other apps such as Fring have enabled 3G VOIP calling through their apps, Skype has been noticeably absent from the VOIP over 3G landscape. Until today.
Included in the app update are some UI tweaks and a call quality indicator to help you predict what your VOIP over 3G call quality will be like.
Most interesting in the announcement is the suggestion that while skype-to-skype over 3G will be free for 2010, skype is investigating pricing options and may charge for it in 2011. This could lead to smartphones being sold with data only + skype plans."Link to Original Source
silverpig writes "It's not every day that a new cellular company opens its doors. The latest new entrant into the Canadian consumer wireless industry announced its launch plans today and will open its doors tomorrow. Following in the footsteps of Wind Mobile, Mobilicity (formerly DAVE wireless) is the second new entrant into the oligopoly of Canadian wireless companies. Limited initially to the Toronto area, they will expand to other major Canadian cities later this year. Key features include an "all you can eat" plan consisting of unlimited everything for $65 a month, and a pay-as-you-go account called "My Wallet" which will be used for pay-per-use services.
The "My Wallet" feature seems great as it looks like pay-per-use will ONLY come out of "My Wallet" and will never appear on your monthly bill. Thus, if you go out of your service area and start racking up huge roaming fees, you'll be cut off once the balance is gone and you won't be stuck with a nasty surprise come the end of the month."Link to Original Source
silverpig writes "Yesterday marked the announcement of the Apple iPad device, and with it came a new version of the SDK. In this new version, Apple has lifted the voip over 3G restrictions that limited VOIP traffic to wifi only.
This morning, Fring announced that it's iPhone app is 3G capable starting immediately. No update is needed as apparently the app had 3G capability all along, but a server side block prevented its use.
Furthermore, apparently a 3G capable version of skype has been ready for some time now, and has been waiting for this restriction to be lifted."Link to Original Source
silverpig writes "Calls through google voice to Canada have been free since August, but some users have noticed recently being charged. The $0.02 per minute rate is the same as what Gizmo5 charged for calls to Canada. Gizmo5 was a VOIP company which was acquired by google in November and it now seems that calls to Canada may be going through Gizmo5, evidence of the incorporation of google voice's VOIP abilities with Gizmo5's PSTN connectivity abilities."Link to Original Source