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."
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.
silverpig writes: "Cisco has released a whitepaper on mobile data usage which has some interesting data in it. The top 1% of users consume 20% of the bandwidth, but that share is down from 30% previously. "Regular" users are catching up as they watch more video. High-bandwidth users of today will be relatively average users by 2015, so network operators should look to those users for insight in designing their future networks."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
silverpig writes: "After resolving privacy issues required by the Government of Canada, Google has launched its street view in Canada. Currently limited only to the Greater Toronto area and the Greater Vancouver area (extending north to Whistler and east to Chilliwack), street view images have had licence plates and faces blurred to protect individuals' privacy."
silverpig writes: "Skype, a formerly independent company acquired by eBay in September 2005 for $2.6b from the Skype Group founded by Niklas Zennström Janus Friis, has been largely acquired by a group of venture capital funds who now own 65% of Skype, leaving eBay with a 35% stake.
"Today, Skype begins a new chapter. We're spinning off from eBay to become an independent company once again.""