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Every Step You Take, Stores Are Watching You
July 15, 2013
Brick-and-mortar retailers are turning to a new tool to help them better monitor shoppers and maximize sales: shoppers' cell phones. Approaches include tracking shoppers as they move about the store using their phones' connection to the store's WiFi system and sensors that recognize returning customers' smartphones, according to one report.
Those Cute Little Baby Cell Towers Could Pose Big Security Problems
July 15, 2013
Two researchers at cybersecurity firm iSec Partners have cracked the security of a Verizon femtocell. Femtocells, also called "small cells," are low-power cellular base stations that wireless carriers, including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, either sell or give to consumers. They connect to the service provider's network through broadband and support multiple cellphones.
Climb Mt. Fuji for the Views, Stay for the 4G
July 12, 2013
Intrepid hikers and garden-variety Internet addicts now have 4G access on top of Japan's famous Mt. Fuji. Japanese telecom NTT DoCoMo has equipped the 12,388-foot summit with high-speed LTE connectivity. The access will run now through August, the height of the tourist season on the mountain. Fuji has always been among the world's most wired mountains.
How to Set Up a Microwave Internet Link Over Distance
July 11, 2013
Around this time of year some buddies and I usually pack up a bunch of our brick-like ham radios, a few unwieldy 30-foot masts, a helium balloon antenna and some pop-up shade shelters and lug it all over to a local mountaintop near our suburban Los Angeles homes. We traipse up the baked hillside with this gear each year to perform a nonstop radio experiment that lasts over a weekend.
FAA May Soon OK Gadget Use in Flight
June 21, 2013
Anyone who has flown in the past two decades knows the drill: Electronic devices including mobile phones, tablets and handheld game systems must be turned off when the airplane doors are closed. Soon, however, those rules may change, the FAA announced this week. "The FAA recognizes consumers are intensely interested in the use of personal electronics aboard aircraft," the agency said.
Sprint Takes Clearwire Fight to Court
June 19, 2013
Sprint has taken legal action to prevent Dish from closing a deal with Clearwire. This is the latest development in the tug of war between the companies over the 50 percent of Clearwire's spectrum that Sprint does not already own. Sprint announced last December that it had worked out a deal to purchase the rest of Clearwire for about $2.97 per share, which would value the company at $2.2 billion.
Up, Up and Away: Google Balloons to Beam Internet Access
June 17, 2013
Regardless of how this turns out, at least they nailed the name. Google is launching about 30 superpressure balloons that will beam Internet access back to the ground. With equal parts brevity and self-deprecation, the effort has been dubbed "Project Loon." Taking flight from New Zealand, the balloons will sail around the world on a controlled path.
Comcast to Pepper Neighborhoods With WiFi Hotspots
June 11, 2013
Comcast is rolling out a neighborhood WiFi initiative designed to allow its Xfinity Internet subscribers to log in to nearby wireless hotspots outside of their home. Subscribers to the service will essentially be the hosts for two separate WiFi networks. One will be their private, secure home connection. The other signal, which Comcast would provide for free, would serve as a neighborhood signal.
Clearwire Board Gives Nod to Sweeter Sprint Bid
May 22, 2013
Clearwire's special committee and its board of directors recommended that shareholders approve Sprint's increased offer to buy the remaining half of the company. Sprint already owns about 50 percent of Clearwire. It upped its bid to purchase the remaining stake by 14 percent Tuesday, offering $3.40 per share. That offer values Clearwire at $10.7 billion.
Amid Threats From Anonymous, Guantanamo WiFi Shut Down
May 22, 2013
Despite cries from the Left, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is still up and running. The same, however, can't be said for Guantanamo's WiFi. The U.S. military turned off wireless Internet service at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base amid threats from the hacker collective Anonymous. Officials have also nixed access to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, a spokesperson for the prison said.
New Chair Puts Spectrum, Access High on FCC's Priority List
May 21, 2013
During her keynote address at the opening session of the CTIA 2013 wireless industry trade show in Las Vegas, acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn spoke of continuing the work of her predecessor -- with a slight shift from focusing on rural communities to addressing the needs of the underprivileged. Clyburn, in her second day in office, stepped in as a late addition to the keynote lineup.
Dish Eyes LightSquared's Wireless Spectrum
May 21, 2013
Dish Network is offering $2 billion for some of LightSquared's spectrum in a move that could help the company expand its services beyond pay TV. The offer would add spectrum to Dish's growing supply of airwaves and allow it to expand into wireless solutions. LightSquared, the bankrupt wireless network company, would use the capital to pay off debt.
Cisco's Data Center Sales Spark Q1 Earnings
May 16, 2013
Cisco's quarterly earnings report beat Wall Street expectations this week, giving investors a hint of confidence in the constantly evolving tech industry. The networking company reported a net income of $2.48 billion, or 46 cents per share. That's up from the $2.17 billion it earned during the same time last year. Revenue was up 5.4 percent to $12.22 billion.
Zact Connects Consumers to Customizable Wireless Plans
May 14, 2013
Zact, a startup that offers customized wireless plans, launched this week as the latest service provider to promise mobile customers more control over their monthly bills. The no-contract company allows users to pick and choose from data, talk and text limits per month, all from an app on their phone. A plan that Zact calls the "Sweet Spot" charges $27.09 per month for 500 minutes of talk.
France Considers Tech Tax to Fund Arts
May 14, 2013
Francois Hollande, France's president, is mulling a potential tax on smartphones, laptops and tablets in order to fund the nation's cherished cultural exception. The revenue generated from such a tax would be earmarked for the cultural exception, which supports French music, film and visual art. France currently spends north of $130 million a year funding these endeavors.
Samsung to Blaze 5G Wireless Trail by 2020
May 13, 2013
Samsung announced Monday that it has made a breakthrough in developing technology for a fifth-generation mobile network. It has found a way to use higher frequency millimeter-wave Ka bands, allowing massive amounts of data to be transmitted at faster speeds. Samsung has developed the world's first adaptive array transceiver technology operating in the Ka bands, it claimed.
ESPN May Give Its Wireless Users an Assist
May 13, 2013
ESPN is reportedly in talks with at least one wireless carrier to help subsidize data usage for customers who stream sports video content on their smartphones and tablets. News of the possible deal comes as more mobile device users are turning to their smartphones for data-intensive activities like playing games and watching videos.
FCC Plan to Boost Inflight WiFi Takes Off With Turbulence
May 11, 2013
As more airlines begin to offer WiFi, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is proposing to increase the bandwidth available for inflight wireless broadband. The FCC is essentially basing its proposal on Qualcomm's submission to the government from July 2011. This raises the question of whether the FCC is perhaps too closely tied to one company in this area.
MetroPCS Shareholders Bless T-Mobile Union
April 25, 2013
T-Mobile can breathe a sigh of relief: After an initial show of reluctance by MetroPCS Communication investors, 80 percent approved its sale to T-Mobile at a special shareholder meeting held on Wednesday. T-Mobile reportedly sweetened its bid for the company to bring on board those shareholders who felt the original offer undervalued MetroPCS.
India to Get a Smartphone for the Blind
April 25, 2013
A company in India has developed a smartphone for the blind. The device will be equipped to read text messages and emails, and it will then convert the text to Braille. It will utilize shape memory alloy technology, which exploits a metal's ability to "remember" its original shape. The phone's screen is not a screen so much as a grid of pins that move up and down to form Braille characters.

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