Glenn Fleishman writes: "EarthLink dropped its final bombshell on city-wide Wi-Fi, saying that it wouldn't put more money in and was talking to their current deployed cities about the future. The company had won bids in dozens of cities, and then backed out of the majority of them before building or finalizing contracts a few months ago. The remaining towns they were building out, like New Orleans, Anaheim, and Philadelphia, will ostensibly be turned off unless local officials come up with scratch or a plan of their own. EarthLink pioneered the model of free-for-fee networks, where there would be no cost or upfront commitment from cities, and EarthLink would charge for network access. Apparently, you can't make money that way."
Glenn Fleishman writes: "Apple changed its license for Mac OS X Server 10.5 (Leopard Server) to allow virtualized instances. VMware and Parallels are poised to offer support. This probably presages a thoroughly overhauled Xserve product with greater capability for acting as a virtual machine server, too."
Glenn Fleishman writes: "eyeFi has finally announced their Wi-Fi adapter for digital cameras. At $100, the 2 GB SD card features a full-fledged processing system that operates independent of the camera; no firmware is needed in the camera for the adapter to transfer images over a local network. eyeFi's system lets you configure the adapter to connect to one or more Wi-Fi networks (with or without encryption), while you set up photo-sharing and social-networking logins on their site. You can configure the card, whenever the camera is powered up and within range of a network it's set to use, to upload photos, which are then automatically posted to whichever services you specify. Photos are uploaded at full resolution, and resized only for services that won't accept larger sizes."
Glenn Fleishman writes: "The British spectrum regulator Ofcom announced that they are planning to allow mobile phone use for voice and data during flights — 1800 MHz, 2G only, above 3000 meters, with an on-board picocell — but that the rules wouldn't be in place until early 2008. They're coordinating this across the EU with their counterparts, and expect an EU-spanning regulation in place by late 2007 to early 2008. This issue is separate from the aviation authorities, which certify airworthiness (i.e., will cell phones crash planes?), but that's all coming together, too. The news pushes back RyanAir's plan to allow calls and data (GPRS) on their fleet starting in fall 2007, but it seems to make it a certainty. Ofcom is accepting comments until Nov. 30 on its plan, and those comments could include "dear lord, no voice calls!" The FCC received thousands of "dear lord" comments on their proposal before deciding against in-flight cellular a few months ago for the time being. Ofcom and the EU could decide data is ok, voice is not, although that's unlikely. (In Europe, all in-flight calls and data would be routed by satellite backhaul; in the US, a ground-based operator focused on data will launch its service in 2008.)"
Glenn Fleishman writes: "Broadcom announced their new 3G Phone on a Chip, which is likely what Apple has been waiting for to release a 3G iPhone. The new chip uses High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA), the GSM evolution standard, with both the highest downlink (HSPDA) speeds of 7.2 Mbps and uplink (HSUPA) speeds of 5.8 Mbps. These higher-speed networks are just now being deployed in Europe; AT&T still lags on HSDPA rollout in the U.S. at 3.6 Mbps. Broadcom includes Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, FM tuning, FM transmission (for car radios), five-band stereo equalization, and, oh yeah, dual ARM11 processors in this 65-nanometer package, which will run $23 in quantity. Sampling now. I imagine Apple had early test versions given that this laundry list fulfills everything Apple has in the iPhone and would want in a future 3G version."
Glenn Fleishman writes: "The Google-backed startup firm Meraki Networks just left beta stage of their $50 mesh router, a device that self-forms networks with other like devices. It's in use in hundreds of networks worldwide. But the company, without consulting its user community, upped the price for a node to $150 if you want many of the features that were formally available in its $50 beta. User authentication (logins) is one of those features only in the new Pro version, not in the Standard edition. And even if you pay $150 per node, you still have to show Google ads on every page (with limited rotation of community messages). The community erupted a bit in the forums, and I received some private mail expressing distress. Many networks were started with the expectation of a $50 cost, and while they understand Meraki might have needed to evolve its model for commercial success, were startled by the changes that appear first on their Web site and weren't communicated in advance with opinions solicited. The transition plan for "legacy" networks isn't good, either, requiring expansion only with $150 nodes, not the still-available $50 ones that carry fewer features in the administrative interface."
Glenn Fleishman writes: "Devicescape has released Connect, a program for the iPhone (available via NullRiver AppTap installation) that lets you connect to free and commercial hotspots without re-entering your login information every time you roam. The Connect software ties into the My Devicescape service, where you can register the network keys for the Wi-Fi networks you manage, and enter the login information for commercial or free networks at which you have accounts, including Boingo Wireless (which aggregates 100,000 hotspots worldwide into a single account). Connect makes it possible to use the iPhone with much less frustration when roaming around. It's a single click of the Login button, and Connect (using information tunneled via DNS) handles the Wi-Fi stack and hot spot authentication. Frictionless."
Glenn Fleishman writes: "John M. Stafford was driving down the road in Virginia, talking on his iPhone using its supplied headphones, when he was pulled over and issued a summons (he passed his story and the picture of the summons on to us at TidBITS). The law in Virginia makes using headphones while driving illegal; but hands-free calling is encouraged. Stafford wonders at that contradiction."
Glenn Fleishman writes: "American Airlines said today that they'll test AirCell's in-flight broadband. AirCell won a US spectrum auction a year ago that gives them a few megahertz in the 800 MHz range for air-to-ground transmission. They expect about 1.5 Mpbs in each direction using the cell data standard EVDO Rev. A. (While not designed for this purpose, it apparently works, and is off-the-shelf instead of custom designed.)
This is only a test deal, but it's likely to score better than Connexion by Boeing, which was only available on a few hundred planes and only for long-haul travel mostly over the Pacific and Atlantic. Connexion worked well, but it was in place before tens of millions of people had Wi-Fi enabled gadgets. Pricing for AirCell's service is likely to be much more affordable because AirCell's operations and rollout are much less costly than Boeing's.
Voice isn't part of this: the FCC won't allow cell phones to be used on planes in the 850 MHz range, and the FAA hasn't approved the "airworthiness" of cell phones in any frequency. AirCell told me in previous interviews that they would provide airlines with tools to suppress VoIP, if desired."
Glenn Fleishman writes: "The US International Trade Commission issued an order this afternoon barring imports of cell phones containing third-generation (3G) networking chips from Qualcomm. They'll allow more shipments of any model imported before today, but new models are on hold. But not the iPhone! First, the iPhone doesn't use Qualcomm chips; second, it's only a 2.5G/Wi-Fi device — no 3G chips inside. The ruling comes after Broadcom (a cell and Wi-Fi chip maker) won a patent dispute in front of the commission last year. Qualcomm's 3G chips are used in handsets by all the major US cell operators, who are spitting mad right now. Apple might get the last laugh, though: they might have the most advanced smartphone on the market unless President Bush or his trade representative overturn the ruling (which they have the power to do)."