The new offering, called Wi-Fi Un-leashed, is open to all subscribers to the carrier’s Simple Choice plans. It could vastly expand the places those customers can exchange calls and text messages.
In addition to domestic use, it will allow calls into the U.S. from any Wi-Fi network outside the country, using the subscriber’s regular T-Mobile number and no additional apps. Starting Sept. 17, Wi-Fi Un-leashed also extends to flights on U.S. airlines — minus the voice calls — with unlimited text, picture messaging and visual voicemail through a partnership with in-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo.
Wi-Fi plays a growing role in mobile operator networks, bringing in extra capacity without sapping their expensive licensed spectrum, because Wi-Fi runs over unlicensed bands. Hotspots have been a key part of T-Mobile’s infrastructure for years, but the services unveiled on Wednesday go further than any major U.S. carrier to date. It’s the latest strategy by the nation’s fourth-largest carrier to grab market share from its larger rivals through unconventional plans.
The Wi-Fi calling feature lets users make high-definition calls over wireless LANs and keep those calls going as they switch over to T-Mobile’s LTE and 3G networks, CTO Neville Ray wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. T-Mobile introduced HD calling across its LTE network earlier this year using VoLTE (voice-over-LTE) technology.
Wi-Fi voice and text essentially extends T-Mobile’s coverage and network capacity without additional network deployments, and the company wants to help its subscribers make that possible. On Wednesday it introduced the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot, an access point that users can plug in anywhere they have a broadband connection, T-Mobile said. The Personal CellSpot will prioritize T-Mobile voice calls over other traffic going over the broadband link, Ray said. Starting Sept. 17, any Simple Choice subscriber with a Wi-Fi voice handset can get a Personal CellSpot free with a $25 deposit.
Intel demoed its “no wires future” of wireless gigabit docking at its Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in California.
Intel wireless gigabit docking is a fully cable-free experience that includes wireless docking, wireless display and wireless charging. Intel demonstrated a reference design based on a next generation 14nm Intel processor on stage during its opening keynote on Tuesday.
Intel hopes to implement this technology by the end of 2015.
“Not only your wireless display, but storage, keyboard and mouse – all the other peripherals you have that have been weighing down our backpacks or strewn across our desk, we’re eliminating with one technology, and that’s wireless gigabit,” said an Intel expert on stage.
“It’s not only a secure and also localised connection – so you can use it in high dense areas such as in an office – but also extremely fast performing at over three times the performance of today’s WiFi.
“But while that’s cool we still have one more cord in our bag and let’s get rid of it: ditch that brick. That last thing that’s weighing us down is [resolved by] wireless power; the ease of use and installation it has is really going to be an advantage using the wireless resonance technology.”
The technology works over a simple receiver that goes into client devices, along with a resonance board that acts as a dock, which creates its own wireless hotspot.
Intel demonstrated how the standard will work using a laptop that automatically powered up and charged as soon as it reached the surface of the table due to the magnetic charging field built into the desk surface.
Intel said that this technology could also charge wireless Bluetooth earpieces, wearable devices, tablets and notebooks. However, it doesn’t have to be built into devices to work, as Intel said it can also be retrofitted into the cases of the devices we are carrying around.
Intel’s wireless gigabit technology is another push towards the firm’s vision of a cable-free future, meaning there’ll be no annoying wires or leads connecting computers to monitors, laptops to plug sockets or tablets to projectors.
The semiconductor giant first announced this view in August, saying that it’s looking to change the enterprise IT market with a strategy that will offer “three major experiences” in the office, that is, wireless display connectivity, wireless docking and wireless charging.
The acquisition of Movirtu helps BlackBerry ramp up its portfolio of services to cater to the needs of its core base of corporate and government clients. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Movirtu’s virtual SIM technology allows an individual to have both a personal and business number on a single mobile device, with separate billing for voice, data and messaging usage on each number.
This allows employees to switch between work and personal profiles easily without carrying multiple devices or SIM cards.
“Clearly this fits nicely within the strategy we have so far articulated. We are building recurring revenue streams in value-added services and providing more value to enterprises,” the head of BlackBerry’s enterprise unit John Sims said in an interview.
Sims said Movirtu’s technology would allow IT administrators for example to restrict calls and emails to a work number after a particular time, without blocking personal calls or emails to the same device.
BlackBerry, which dominated the smartphone market in its infancy, has been reshaping itself over the course of the last year as its devices have lost ground to Apple’s iPhone and a slew of rival devices powered by Google’s Android operating system.
Under the leadership of its new chief executive John Chen, the company has moved rapidly to stabilize itself by selling certain assets, partnering to make its manufacturing and supply chain more efficient, and raising cash via the sale of its real estate holdings.
Chen, a well-regarded turnaround artist in the tech sector, intends to remain a competitor in the smartphone arena, but is focused on reshaping the company to build on its core strengths in areas like mobile data security and mobile device management.
The company has been making small acquisitions in the last few months, as it looks to build out its offerings for so-called enterprise clients made up primarily by large corporations and government agencies that are in many cases still major users of Blackberry devices.
SanDisk has released more details about its joint venture with Dell, which will see DAS Cache SSD caching software from Sandisk added to Dell’s Poweredge servicers.
Sandisk’s director of Software Marketing Rich Petersen told The INQUIRER, “We’re excited to be announcing a co-venture with a brand with Dell’s credentials that offers platform independent, brand independent caching.”
Sandisk DAS Cache is a pure software caching system that uses flash memory to improve latency at the server level by up to 37 times.
Network managers can choose between apportioning part of, or a full dedicated SSD, for caching, with the software algorithms controlling the flow of data without the need for any additional hardware.
“An all software solution allows anyone to take advantage of caching technology without the need for engineering knowledge or previous experience of configuration” continued Petersen.
Users can create up to four different cache pools with different prioritisations to create quality of service (QoS) infrastructure. Cache persistence ensures that even if the server is rebooted the speed boost is maintained.
Sandisk DAS Cache will be available in the newly announced range of Dell servers that were announced at IDF in San Francisco. However, users are not required to use Sandisk SSDs in the system, as the software works with all disk manfacturers’ products.
At launch the system is in place for Windows and Linux based systems, with VMware set to follow in 2015. The system also supports hypervisors including Microsoft Hyper-V.
Sandisk has made a number of advances in the enterprise market this year, including the first 4TB capacity solid-state disk (SSD) drive, and a dedicated SSDs for business laptops.
NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft is closing in on its 10-month journey to Mars’ orbit, from where it will study the planet’s atmosphere and shed more light on its history.
The craft was launched by NASA from Cape Canaveral last November. It’s set to to enter Mars’ orbit, on schedule, Sept. 21. The interplanetary journey took MAVEN over 442 million miles.
“We’re the first mission devoted to observing the upper atmosphere of Mars and how it interacts with the sun and the solar wind,” said Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator for MAVEN at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
MAVEN is loaded with scientific instruments designed to help scientists find out what happened to the planet’s atmosphere and the water that flowed there long ago. With each orbit, the instruments will measure the composition, structure and escape of atmospheric gases.
“MAVEN’s orbit through the tenuous top of the atmosphere will be unique among Mars missions,” said Jakosky. “We’ll get a new perspective on the planet and the history of the Martian climate, liquid water and planetary habitability by microbes.”
Scientists hope that Maven can provide another piece of the puzzle that is the history of Mars. For years now, researchers have been trying to figure out if Mars was ever had water flowing on its surface, if it was able to support life and what happened to its atmosphere.
To explore Mars, NASA has other orbiters and has had three robotic rovers, including the super rover Curiosity, and Opportunity, which has been working on Mars for more than 10 years. The robots have been searching for clues to Mars’ history on the surface and have found evidence of ancient water flows.
MAVEN, NASA’s first spacecraft with a sole goal of studying the Martian atmosphere, will set its sights on scientific research above the planet. How much gas from Mars’ atmosphere has been lost to space throughout the planet’s history? What drove that loss?
NASA engineers will be uploading software updates – over millions of miles – to provide information needed by the craft to manage its location, velocity and orientation so it can insert itself, without human intervention, into Mars orbit. The entire insertion will be guided by MAVEN’s onboard computers.
Verizon Communications will give customers who trade in an old iPhone a free iPhone 6 in exchange for a two-year contract, the country’s largest wireless carrier announced hours after Apple Inc introduced the widely anticipated device.
The announcement came as critics speculated that Apple’s newest phone, starting at $199 with a two-year contract, would not be competitive as more carriers eliminate contracts and unbundle service charges from the cost of devices.
Analysts say that by making the cost of devices more transparent, equipment financing plans make expensive handsets like the iPhone less appealing. On the other hand, the plans allow customers to pay for devices in installments, making pricy devices like the iPhone more accessible.
Customers who trade in an iPhone 4, 4s, 5, 5c or 5s in working condition will receive a $200 gift card to pre-order the 16-gigabyte version of the newer model, Verizon said in a statement. The offer does not apply to Apple’s other new phone, the larger iPhone 6 Plus.
Verizon has been more reluctant than competitors to dive into equipment financing, and its promotion indicates its attachment to the older contract model, which binds subscribers to the carrier for a fixed term, said Jan Dawson, analyst at JackDaw Research.
“There is an inherent risk in the shift to installment billing that it creates more loyalty to the device than to the carrier,” said Dawson.
“Verizon sees the value of the two-year contract in that tying a device to a two-year plan can prevent churn,” said Dawson.
He pointed out that new device releases are major factors for subscribers in deciding whether to switch carriers.
As the market for new smartphone customers shrinks, carriers have been competing aggressively for subscribers, slashing prices and engaging in creative promotions to poach each others’ customers.
On Monday, T-Mobile announced it would beat any other major carriers’ trade-in rates and give customers a $50 credit as well.
Working with Fujitsu and NEC, the Japanese telecommunications giant verified the digital coherent optical transmission technology for distances of several thousand kilometers to 10,000 km. With it, a single wavelength of light can carry 400 Gbps, four times the capacity of previous systems. Each fiber can carry multiple wavelengths, and many fibers can be bundled into one cable.
The approach could more than double existing capacity to meet ever-increasing bandwidth demand, especially by heavy data users.
The technology could be used in the next generation of backbone links, which aggregate calls and data streams and send them over the high-capacity links that go across oceans and continents. The fiber in the network would stay the same, and only the equipment at either end would need to change.
While the current capacity on such links is up to 8Tbps (terabits per second) per fiber, the new technology would make a capacity of 24Tbps per fiber possible, according to NTT.
“As an example of the data size, 24 Tbps corresponds to sending information contained in 600 DVDs (4.7 GB per DVD) within a second,” an NTT spokesman wrote in an email. “The verification was done using algorithms which are ready to be implemented in CMOS circuits to show that these technologies are practically feasible.”
To compensate for distortions along the optical fiber, researchers from the consortium developed digital backward propagation signal processing with an optimized algorithm. The result of this and other research is that the amount of equipment required for transmissions over long distances can be reduced, meaning the network could consume less electricity.
“We are extremely excited to show this groundbreaking performance surpassing 100 Gbps coherent optical transmission systems,” Masahito Tomizawa, executive manager of consortium leader NTT Network Innovation Labs, wrote in an email. “This new technology maintains the stability and reliability of our current 100 Gbps solutions while at the same time dramatically improving performance.”
The consortium said it is taking steps toward commercialization of the technology on a global scale but would not say when that might happen.
Western Digital has announced the latest addition to its My Passport series of portable external hard drives.
The My Passport Wireless, as the name suggests, is WD’s entry in the current crop of WiFi Direct attached storage devices.
Available in capacities of 500GB, 1TB and 2TB, the My Passport Wireless drive can sit directly on a WiFi network or act as a pass-through device, linking up to eight devices regardless of type and operating system.
One touch syncing with Dropbox, Onedrive and Google Drive allows users to keep local copies of files without clogging up their computer hard drives.
With an optimal battery life of eight hours and standby life of 20 hours on a single charge, My Passport Wireless is capable of streaming HD video to multiple screens, and connects with wireless cameras via FTP for simultaneous backup during photo sessions.
An external SD card slot is also included for devices that do not have a direct connection, or if you need a little extra boost in storage space.
WD’s My Cloud app, which also powers its My Cloud range of NAS devices, has been given a facelift to include access to the My Passport wireless. New features include an embedded music and video player, and remote configuration of drive settings.
The 500GB model will retail at $150.00, with the 1TB and 2TB editions priced at $200.00 and $250.00, respectively.
As part of the launch of the My Passport Wireless, WD also introduced two new limited edition wired My Passport devices to commemorate ten years of the range. The My Passport Ultra Metal Edition and My Passport Ultra Anniversary Editions were described by Scott Vouri, WD VP of Consumer Marketing as “a souvenir of ten years of a classic device”.
In other words, laptop users won’t have to carry power bricks, said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s PC Client Group. Skaugen spoke during a webcast keynote Friday at the IFA trade show in Berlin.
In a few years, wireless charging will be common in PCs, much like wireless communications are today, Skaugen said, adding that users will be able to charge mobile devices and PCs at the same time.
“This is a big, big deal. In the next several years you will see hundreds of thousands of charge stations,” Skaugen said. “Intel’s desire is that wireless charging evolve from wearable to the phone to the tablet to the PC.”
Intel is developing circuitry required for wireless charging in laptops. PC makers like Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Panasonic are backing the idea, and more are expected to offer wireless charging in PCs, Skaugen said.
Intel is backing wireless technology from a standards organization called A4WP (Alliance for Wireless Power), whose magnetic resonance technology turns surfaces like tables into wireless charging stations. Intel is developing circuitry for 20 watt to 50 watt wireless charging, which won’t be enough to recharge power hungry large-screen and gaming laptops but will suffice for general-use computers.
A4WP has more than 100 members, with some prominent names among them, including Qualcomm and Samsung.
Wireless charging is part of Intel’s larger plan to free PCs of wire clutter. Intel is working on technologies to eliminate cables for keyboards, mice, monitors and external hard drives.
For example, Intel next year will ship a docking station based on WiGig wireless technology, which will be able to stream 4K images wirelessly to high-definition displays. WiGig is 10 times faster in wireless data transfers than 802.11n, and three times faster than the latest 802.11ac, according to Skaugen.
The WiGig dock could eliminate the need to plug HDMI or DisplayPort cables into laptops. The dock will provide USB 3.0-like data transfer speeds to external storage devices.
The Iconia Tab 8 W runs Windows on an Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core processor. It offers 8 hours of battery life, weighs 370 grams and is 9.75 millimeters thick. The 8-inch screen has a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels.
For the $149 price tag, Acer includes a one-year subscription to the Personal version of Office 365, which includes access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook.
Android fans will prefer the Iconia One 8, running Android 4.4. It has the same Intel processor and screen dimensions as its Windows cousin, but is slightly lighter at 340 grams and only 8.5 millimeters thick.
Buyers can choose between 10 colors, including red, green, blue, purple and pink.
Acer also took the covers off the Iconia 10, an Android-based 10-inch tablet. The device has a quad-core processor from MediaTek. The screen is protected using Gorilla glass and has Full HD resolution. Using Dolby Digital Plus, surround sound is simulated from two-channel stereo audio headphones.
Available in black or white and with a price of $199, the Iconia Tab 10 includes a micro HDMI port and Wireless Display support for showing photos and videos on a bigger TV.
The first of the new tablets to start shipping will be the Iconia 10, available this month in the Americas and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
The Iconia Tab 8 W will go on sale in October in EMEA and in November in the Americas.
AMD has explained that its new FreeSync technology will only work in new silicon.
FreeSync is AMD’s initiative to enable variable-refresh display technology for smoother in-game animation and was supposed to give Nvidia’s G-Sync technology a good kicking.
G-Sync has already resulted in some top production gaming monitors like the Asus ROG Swift PG278Q.
However AMD said that the only the newest GPU silicon from AMD will support FreeSync displays. Specifically, the Hawaii GPU that drives the Radeon R9 290 and 290X will be compatible with FreeSync monitors, as will the Tonga GPU in the Radeon R9 285.
The Bonaire chip that powers the Radeon R7 260X and HD 7790 cards could support FreeSync, but that is not certain yet.
Now that would be OK if the current Radeon lineup is populated by a mix of newer and older GPU technology. What AMD is saying is that there are some brand-new graphics cards selling today that will not support FreeSync monitors when they arrive.
The list of products that won’t work with FreeSync includes anything based on the older revision of the GCN architecture used in chips like Tahiti and Pitcairn.
So if you have splashed out on the the Radeon R9 280, 280X, 270, and 270X hoping that it will be FreeSync-capable you will be out of luck. Nor will any older Radeons in the HD 7000 and 8000 series.
Nvidia’s G-Sync works with GeForce graphics cards based on the Kepler architecture, which include a broad swath of current and past products dating back to the GeForce GTX 600 series.
Agero, one of the nation’s largest suppliers of roadside safety software and services to automakers and insurance companies, said its new UBI telematics suite will transmit to insurers the information needed to offer discounts to good drivers, penalize others, and send alerts to emergency assistance service providers.
The UBI suite consists of the PolicyPal app, which tracks driving habits in real time, and Auto Crash Notification (ACN), which automatically notifies emergency services within moments of an accident.
Currently, State Farm’s In-Drive and Progressive’s Snapshot program, offer customers the opportunity to voluntarily participate in programs in which their insurer collects vehicle data and uses the information to determine driving habits, which in turn can be used to offer lower-rate incentives to safer operators.
Unlike Agero’s new platform, however, In-Drive and Snapshot, use a small data collection device that plugs into a vehicle’s standard OBDII onboard diagnostics port under the dashboard and transmits data from a car’s central computer to insurance companies.
Agero’s new mobile suite will greatly expand upon the universe of consumers who can vie for “discount rates” based on their driving profiles. The mobile device also travels with them in or out of the vehicle.
Over the past decade, the insurance industry has been embroiled in a heated price war, with companies vying to be king of the heap for discount pricing.
“It’s becoming a cutthroat market. They’re competing on price,” said Jeff Blecher, senior vice president of strategy at Medford, Mass.-based Agero. “To break that mold, they need a new business model. UBI does that. Now, they can compete based on the risk profile of drivers.”
UBI offers the insurance industry new opportunities for tailored discount programs. Notably, they can switch from relying OBDII dongles plugged into the customer’s car and instead use mobile apps that travel with the driver, whether he’s traveling in his own car or another vehicle.
“We want to align our strategy… with the smartphone as primary data collection point,” Blecher said.
Verizon Communications Inc will shell out $7.4 million to settle a U.S. investigation that found the telecom giant failed to properly notify some customers of their privacy rights before using their information for marketing, U.S. regulators said.
The Federal Communications Commission said its investigation found that starting in 2006, some 2 million new Verizon phone customers did not receive proper privacy notices in their first bill. The notices would have told consumers how to opt out of having their personal information used to tailor marketing offers, which the company later sent to some of them.
Phone companies are generally prohibited from using personal data they collect from their customers, though such data can be used for marketing if the consumer gives permission.
“It is plainly unacceptable for any phone company to use its customers’ personal information for thousands of marketing campaigns without even giving them the choice to opt out,” Travis LeBlanc, acting chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, said in a statement.
Verizon, which said only landline customers were affected, reported the discrepancy to the FCC on Jan. 18, 2013, though the FCC said it was aware of the problem in September 2012.
Verizon has now agreed to send opt-out notices on every bill and pay the largest fine in FCC’s history of settlements over investigations into telephone customers’ personal data privacy, the agency said.
“The issue here was that a notice required by FCC rules inadvertently was not provided to certain of Verizon’s wireline customers before they received marketing materials from Verizon for other Verizon services that might be of interest to them,” said company’s spokesman Ed McFadden.
“It did not involve a data breach or an unauthorized disclosure of customer information to third parties. Verizon takes seriously its obligation to comply with all FCC rules, and once we discovered the issue with the notices we informed the FCC, fixed the problem and implemented a number of measures to ensure it does not recur.”
Canonical has revealed more details about its upcoming offer to build and manage Openstack cloud computing systems for a fee of $15 per host server per day.
Now renamed Bootstack, the offering is still in private beta. When it is fully available, the service will see Canonical engineers building and managing complete Openstack infrastructure as a service (Iaas) private clouds for customers, to their specifications and using their choice of hardware.
Bootstack was first announced under the Your Cloud branding by Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth during a keynote at the Openstack Summit in Atlanta in May. Not only has the name now changed, but Canonical is offering customers the option of having their private cloud hosted by IBM’s SoftLayer cloud division, as an alternative to having it built and operated inside their own data centre.
In a posting on the Ubuntu Insights blog, Canonical cloud marketing manager Sally Radwan explained that Bootstack (short for build, operate, and optionally transfer) will make it easier for a customer to get up and running with a cloud platform, and take over the operational management at some point in the future, if required.
“Canonical will manage the cloud for you for a fixed price, relieving you from the pain of recruiting and training Openstack staff. When your team is ready to take over your cloud operations, Canonical will transfer it to your care. It’s the best way to get up and running quickly on Openstack,” she said.
Bootstack can deliver a test cloud using as few as five host servers for proof-of-concept purposes, but it can also deliver an enterprise-scale production cloud, backed by 24/7 management and support, Canonical said.
The $15 per host server per day fee excludes the hardware or hosting costs, but does include service level agreements (SLAs) so that Canonical takes responsibility for the uptime and responsiveness of the customer’s cloud infrastructure.
Organizations interested in Canonical’s Bootstack offering can get in touch with the firm to find out more details via its website.
The tablet, which runs on Google’s Android 4.4 OS, has Intel’s quad-core Atom chip, code-named Bay Trail. The chip is capable of running PC-class applications and rendering high-definition video.
The 8-inch S8 offers 1920 x 1200-pixel resolution, which is also on Google’s 7-inch Nexus 7. The S8 is priced lower than the Nexus 7, which sells for $229.
The Tab S8 is 7.87 millimeters thick, weighs 294 grams, and runs for seven hours on a single battery charge. It has a 1.6-megapixel front camera and 8-megapixel back camera. Other features include 16GB of storage, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. LTE is optional.
The Tab S8 will ship in multiple countries. Most of Lenovo’s tablets worldwide with screen sizes under 10 inches run on Android.
Lenovo also announced its largest gaming laptop. The Y70 Touch has a 17.3-inch touchscreen, and can be configured with Intel’s Core i7 processors and Nvidia’s GTX-860M graphics card. It is 25.9 millimeters thick and is priced starting at $1,299. It will begin shipping next month.
The company also announced Erazer X315 gaming desktop with Advanced Micro Devices processors code-named Kaveri. It can be configured with up to 32GB of DDR3 DRAM and 4TB of hard drive storage or 2TB of hybrid solid-state/hard drive storage. It will ship in November in the U.S. with prices starting at $599.
The products were announced ahead of the IFA trade show in Berlin. Lenovo is holding a press conference at IFA where it is expected to announce more products.