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Apple Takes the Maps Fight Inside
March 27, 2013
Apple has slammed the door on WiFiSLAM after acquiring the Android indoor location positioning developer. However, even though it has closed the startup's shop, Apple will likely use its technology to get mapping again. After last fall's humiliation over its bungled outdoor maps app, Apple's acquisition of WiFiSLAM could be an important step in the right direction.
T-Mobile Finally Gets Some Respect
March 26, 2013
After six years of watching helplessly as competing providers basked in the iPhone's glory, T-Mobile is going to start offering the coveted device as well. The carrier made the much-anticipated announcement at an event Tuesday morning, where it also revealed plans to step up its 4G network rollout. The announcement about the iPhone, though, was the headliner.
Beyond the Grave, Onto the Smartphone
March 25, 2013
A cemetery in Shenyang, the capital of China's Liaoning Province, will become, for lack of a better term, interactive. With mobile devices, people will be able to scan a quick response code on graves of people whose relatives have requested the feature. Scanning this code will allow visitors to learn about the person's life; they can also access a Web page where relatives and friends can upload photos or video.
FCC Chair Genachowski Calls It Quits
March 22, 2013
Julius Genachowski said Friday that he is stepping down as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, a post he has held since 2009. During his tenure, Genachowski faced a number of important issues, including media consolidation, cable and telecom industry competition and cooperation -- and, most notably, a sharp debate over broadband spectrum.
I Want My M-WiFi
March 19, 2013
Looking for an Internet connection when out and about may soon become a lot easier. There's been an uptick in public WiFi availability. Recent public WiFi launches include Google's free WiFi project in New York City, starting with parts of Chelsea. London's tube network went hot in 2012 with 92 underground stations WiFi-enabled; Virgin Media is connecting a further 28 stations by the end of March, 2013.
T-Mobile Deal's Fate Now in MetroPCS Investors' Hands
March 13, 2013
Following Tuesday's final approval by the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice, the focus now shifts to some MetroPCS shareholders who have raised last-minute objections to their proposed merger with T-Mobile. The wireless carriers announced the deal in October, claiming it would create a "bigger, better, bolder" network that would keep the T-Mobile name.
Google Hit With $7M Fine at the Privacy Tollbooth
March 13, 2013
Google has settled its Street View privacy case with 38 states and the District of Columbia. As part of the settlement, the company will destroy the personal information it collected under the project, train its employees on privacy issues for a 10-year period, launch a campaign to educate consumers on WiFi security, and pay a $7 million fine.
T-Mobile, MetroPCS Merger Gets More Wind in Its Sails
March 07, 2013
The T-Mobile-MetroPCS merger has moved one step closer to the finish line now that the Department of Justice has signaled it doesn't oppose the deal. The department allowed a required waiting period to pass without objection, Deutsche Telekom said Wednesday, bringing the deal to an "important staging post."
Samsung Shores Up Security to Pluck BlackBerry Biz Users
February 28, 2013
Having established its credentials as a key player in the consumer smartphone world, Samsung is bolstering security to take a stab at business users, a demographic traditionally dominated by BlackBerry. For the past year, Samsung has been beefing up the Android software that powers its smartphones to protect it against malware.
Consumer Signal Booster: An Electronic Gadget Grows Up
February 26, 2013
There's a little-known electronic gadget -- one that's generally not available alongside the colorful big-screen TVs and bass-pounding sound systems in seductive, sparkly urban consumer-electronics mega-stores -- that can be a life-changing device, nonetheless. For some people, it's much more important than the latest 4.7-inch smartphone.
Facebook Faces Lawsuit Over Like Button
February 12, 2013
Rembrandt Social Media is suing Facebook for its use of the Like button, according to the BBC. Rembrandt claims that Facebook's success is owed, at least in part, to patents belonging to Dutch programmer Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer, who died in 2004.
DoJ Tosses Monkey Wrench Into Sprint-Softbank Merger Plans
January 30, 2013
Citing national security concerns, the Justice Department on Tuesday asked the FCC to put the brakes on the pending Sprint-Softbank merger. The DoJ, FBI and DHS are reviewing the buy for national security, law enforcement and public safety concerns, according to a letter Justice sent to the FCC.
Google Plans Mysterious Wireless Network Project
January 24, 2013
Google has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission for a new or modified radio station for an experimental radio service other than broadcast. The initial base station will be deployed on Google's campus in Mountain View, Calif. It appears the company intends to build a dense, hyperspeed wireless network.
AT&T Wheels and Deals to Fend Off Spectrum Squeeze
January 22, 2013
AT&T has reached an agreement with Atlantic Tele-Network to buy its wireless assets for $780 million. The deal will add approximately 585,000 subscribers -- mainly in Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina -- to AT&T's user ranks. Perhaps more importantly, AT&T's acquisition of the Alltel brand will bring in spectrum complementary to AT&T's network.
FCC Aims to Expand WiFi Highway
January 10, 2013
The FCC plans to open up a new batch of wireless spectrum to bring faster and more reliable access to public WiFi hotspots, its chairman announced Wednesday during a talk at the 2013 CES, although it will have to overcome some obstacles. The commission seeks to free up 195 Mhz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band, the largest block of unlicensed spectrum to be made free for WiFi expansion since 2003.
Boeing Uses Sacks of Spuds for In-Flight WiFi Tests
December 20, 2012
Using potatoes as an analog for humans, Boeing has come up with a new way to test for in-flight wireless signal strength. Signal strength is everything when it comes to effective wireless connectivity, whether it's on the ground or 35,000 feet up in the air. Passengers on board a wireless-enabled plane want to access the network whether they're in first class or the middle seat in the back of the plane.
Apple Pushes Out WiFi Fix for iOS 6
December 19, 2012
Apple on Tuesday began pushing a fix to a WiFi bug in iOS 6 that targets the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. Apple has released very little information about the fix. Its support site simply describes the 6.0.2 update as "fixes a bug that could impact WiFi." This latest fix for iOS 6 is the second since the software was released in September.
Sprint Chases Clearwire Buyout Deal
December 13, 2012
Sprint Nextel has made a $2.1 billion offer for the shares of Clearwire that it doesn't already own, according to a regulatory filing. The news comes after rumors surfaced earlier this week that the company was in talks with Intel and Comcast to buy out their stakes. The offer, which works out to $2.90 per share, also comes with interim financing of $800 million for Clearwire, if it agrees to the deal.
FreedomPop Dishes Up Free Data in Broadband Offensive
December 12, 2012
FreedomPop is looking to disrupt the cable and DSL business model by offering free wireless Internet service to home users. The startup on Wednesday began taking orders for an $89 modem that will provide online access to as many as 10 WiFi-enabled devices in the home, at speeds faster than digital subscriber lines.
The Skies Have It: Affordable Broadband Internet for All
December 05, 2012
The rural broadband delivery business is rapidly changing. When Dish Network's super-cheap broadband-via-satellite service, dishNET, went live in October, it prompted a satellite Internet price-war. dishNET download speeds reach 10 Mbps. Service starts at $39.99 a month for 10 GB of data at 5 Mbps if you bundle it with Dish Network's television service.
CR's Cellphone Service Rankings May Help Businesses More Than Consumers
December 03, 2012
It's that time of year again: Consumer Reports has published its annual list of best cellphone carriers. Verizon is at the top, having received the most favorable scores for voice and data service quality. It also scored well for staff knowledge and resolution of issues. Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T each got middle to low marks, especially in the voice and text service quality categories.
An All-Occasion Mobile Signal Booster in a Backpack
November 29, 2012
A simple AM radio can keep you abreast of events during a disaster. However, a smartphone is ideal for two-way communications, as well as for news and government messages via text message and social networks like Twitter. I've been using a signal booster kit while backpacking around network-sparse, sunny Southern California.
No-Sweat Windows 8 Networking
November 15, 2012
Easy sharing and streaming of media and other assets among computers at home or in the workplace is a good reason to get networked. Other benefits include sharing Internet connections. If you've been using email as a method for distributing files among family members or a small business, or are simply taking the Windows 8 plunge, Microsoft has never made it easier.
US Is King of the 4G World
November 08, 2012
Perhaps the United States was not the first to get into the 4G LTE wireless data game, but today it may be the most aggressive in rolling it out. The U.S. has more miles of network, more devices, and more subscribers than any other place on Earth. If you listen to the advertising, it seems every carrier offers 4G, and every customer uses it. Do you? If so, great. If not, when?

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