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T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Teeters Between FCC Approval, DoJ Rejection
May 23, 2019
United States Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai this week gave the green light to a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, currently the third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers respectively. The nation's top telecom regulator agreed to the $26 billion merger, but with some conditions -- the most notable being that Sprint would sell off its Boost Mobile prepaid cellphone brand.
ARM Joins Firms Shunning Huawei's Business
May 23, 2019
British mobile device software design firm ARM has ordered its staff to stop working with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei, in compliance with a ban issued by President Trump. Under an executive order he signed last week, foreign companies and individuals are prohibited from buying United States technology and services without first obtaining special approval from the U.S. government.
5G Could Mess With Accuracy of Weather Forecasts
May 21, 2019
Next-generation 5G mobile communications technology could have a harmful impact on weather forecasting in the United States, based on expert testimony presented before a U.S. House committee during a hearing on the future of weather forecasting. Interference from 5G wireless phones could reduce the accuracy of weather forecasts by 30 percent, said Neil Jacobs, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at NOAA.
US Mobile: Another Bait-and-Switch Disappointment
May 16, 2019
I just dumped US Mobile after less than four months, setting a new speed record for hitting my tolerance-for-b.s. ceiling. I'd had high hopes for this relatively new mobile virtual network operator, but it turns out I chose poorly. Switching wireless service providers is one of those things I don't relish doing, but every few years I find that I'm in a one-way relationship with my carrier.
Consumers Balk at Premium Smartphone Prices
April 26, 2019
Only a fraction of consumers are willing to pay $1,500 or more for a flagship Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy smartphone, suggests an informal ECT News Network survey conducted from April 15 to 22. Fewer than 2 percent of those who took part said they'd be willing to paying such a premium for a handset. New smartphones arrive with almost disturbing regularity.
Everyone's a Winner in Apple-Qualcomm Settlement
April 18, 2019
Apple and Qualcomm unexpectedly announced a settlement as their case entered the second day of a hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Diego. In related news, Intel announced it was getting out of the 5G smartphone chip business. The Apple-Qualcomm settlement provides an unspecified one-time payment from Apple to Qualcomm, among other terms.
Qualcomm: Rethinking AI in a 5G Quantum World
April 15, 2019
It is expected that 5G will move aggressively into the market, with near-complete major metropolitan coverage by the end of the year. This technology is a game-changer, but it doesn't come without issues, one of which is the massive change in network loading. 5G will shift the bottlenecks from the wireless networks to the backhaul, where the expected massive increase in traffic will force some rather impressive network upgrades.
WiFi, Managed Services and the Home Network: Solving In-Home Connectivity
March 30, 2019
Home networks are a key building block for today's connected home systems and products, and wireless is the dominant method of connectivity for a variety of smart home, computing and entertainment devices. As a result, loss of wireless connectivity can be disruptive to the user experience and seriously impair the value proposition of computing and entertainment devices.
The Strange Tech Wars of 2019
March 11, 2019
The tech market is defined by its battles: Microsoft vs. IBM; Apple vs. Microsoft; Netscape vs. Microsoft; Google vs. Microsoft. If Microsoft were a person, it likely would have PTSD. Then there was Apple vs. Google, and now the big one is Apple vs. Qualcomm. The screwy thing for me is that Huawei represents a far greater threat to both companies than they represent to each other.
August Adds Wireless HD Video Doorbell to Smart Home Line
March 6, 2019
The August View is a wireless doorbell that can stream sharp 1440p HD video. It supports two-way audio, so you can talk to guests via an Internet connection. The View can be paired with August and Connected by August smart locks. That means you not only can speak to visitors remotely, but also can let them into your house. That functionality can be handy for accepting package deliveries.
The Latest Efforts to Make the iPhone Obsolete Could Have Teeth
February 25, 2019
The Mobile World Congress is the annual event where everyone who hates Apple goes to grouse about their profits and point out Apple's lack of real progress. That's pretty much everyone who is anyone, aside from Apple itself, which also is at the event. Much like CES often does, MWC tends to spin pretty hard toward the "I hate Apple, I'd like to be Apple" crowd of competitors.
Samsung Unveils New S10s, Pushes Envelope With Fold
February 21, 2019
Samsung held its annual Unpacked event in San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Wednesday, presenting fans with a new product lineup that includes three versions of its flagship Galaxy S10, plus the Galaxy S10 5G, the Galaxy Fold, and several new wearables. All of the devices have an edge-to-edge display that increases the amount of screen real estate available.
Amazon Meshes With Eero
February 13, 2019
Amazon has scooped up mesh WiFi network maker Eero, the home network company known for making an easy-to-set-up product that can blanket a home with high-quality WiFi. "We are incredibly impressed with the Eero team and how quickly they invented a WiFi solution that makes connected devices just work," said Dave Limp, Amazon's senior vice president for devices and services.
Wireless Carriers Caught Playing Fast and Loose With Location Data
February 8, 2019
AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have sold access to subscribers' real-time location data to aggregators, which in turn have sold it to about 250 bounty hunters and related businesses, according to a report. In some cases, the data allowed users to track individuals to their specific locations inside a building. Some companies made thousands of location requests to data brokers.
2019: The Year Everything Changes
January 7, 2019
We are approaching critical mass on a number of technologies that we will see increasingly this year. This wave will start at CES, where we will see an impressive number of attempts at personal robots and AI-powered digital assistants. Most will fail, but both the failures and the few successes will set the stage for the first true mobile personal robots that will arrive in the following years.
AT&T to Switch On 5G in 12 Cities
December 19, 2018
AT&T is poised to activate its 5G network in parts of 12 U.S. cities. A select group of users will receive a 5G hot spot that connects to AT&T's 5G+ network. AT&T's 5G service will roll out in parts of Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas; Houston; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; Oklahoma City; New Orleans; Raleigh, North Carolina; and San Antonio and Waco, Texas.
Apple's Self-Destructive Qualcomm, China Strategies
December 17, 2018
Why would Apple want to put Qualcomm out of business? It'is because Apple uses a lock-in strategy, where once on an Apple platform it is painful to get off. Most of the smart Apple iPhone users I know actually use Google apps and Google's infrastructure and other third-party tools on their iPhones, so if they want to move to an Android phone they can move almost seamlessly.
Who's Winning the Latest Tech Industry Battles?
December 10, 2018
December has become consistent with the Chinese curse, "May You Be Born In Interesting Times." We are up to our armpits in wars. Qualcomm and Intel are fighting for 5G control, and Intel is tearing itself apart. Microsoft passed Apple in valuation, largely because it has not been focusing on Apple. The Huawei founder's daughter has just been arrested, at the request of the U.S.
How to Protect Your Online Privacy: A Practical Guide
November 7, 2018
Do you take your online privacy seriously? Most people don't. They have an ideal scenario of just how private their online activities should be, but they rarely do anything to actually achieve it. The problem is that bad actors know and rely on this fact, and that's why there's been a steady rise in identity theft cases from 2013 to 2017, often resulting in loss of reputation or financial woes.
AI and the Future of Your Job
July 30, 2018
I just finished The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity, and it was one hell of a read. A lot of us are concerned about the coming of robots that arguably will be substantially smarter and more capable than we are. This book likely will make some feel a tad more comfortable about the future, but others will have to brace for change.
Will MVNO Worries Complicate T-Mobile, Sprint Merger?
July 12, 2018
T-Mobile and Sprint have embarked on the road to a merger, creating some consternation among competitors. One concern that the combined company would have too much power as a mobile virtual network operator -- possibly controlling as much as 40 percent of the MVNO marketplace. The question is, should regulators require the new company to do something about this prior to approving the deal?
WPA3 Arrives to Shore Up WiFi Security
June 27, 2018
Network devices with better security will be hitting the market this year, thanks to Wi-Fi Certified WPA3, which the Wi-Fi Alliance launched Tuesday. The announcement paves the way for the proliferation of devices that support the new, more secure protocol for WiFi communication, which is designed to replace the 14-year-old WPA2. The new protocol adds features to simplify WiFi security.
Smart Homes: The Power, the Pleasure and the Pain, Part 2
March 29, 2018
Smart homes are here. Although not every home is tricked out with the latest technologies, they're no longer a rarity. For example, a hefty 41 percent of the respondents to an online survey conducted last year said they already owned smart home devices. Sales of smart refrigerators and washing machines more than doubled in 2017, and they will constitute more than half the global market by 2021.
Smart Homes: The Power, the Pleasure and the Pain
March 28, 2018
You've seen the ad: A family is vacationing out of town and the parents suddenly wonder if the house is locked up properly. They use their smartphone to remotely activate the smart locks and security system. Or this one: Someone rings the doorbell or merely approaches a home, and the homeowner uses a smartphone to speak through the video doorbell system, even when not at home.
Intel's Fake 5G Olympic Hail Mary
February 12, 2018
If there ever were a time when perception Trumped reality, this would be it. So much of what we see these days that looks real just isn't. I can connect a lot of this back to Steve Jobs, who was the master at this in the tech world. However, I'm worried that too many people don't realize that there were several times Steve missed jail by the skin of his teeth, largely because he did amazing work under pressure.
WiFi Routers Riddled With Holes: Report
February 6, 2018
Most WiFi router vendors have not patched numerous firmware vulnerabilities discovered more than two years ago, according to a new report. OEM firmware built into WiFi routers use open source components that contain numerous known security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. Insignary conducted comprehensive binary code scans for known security vulnerabilities in WiFi routers.
Google Device Bug Chokes Home WiFi Networks
January 18, 2018
A bug in the software used by Google Cast devices such as Chromecast and Home can slow down or crash WiFi networks. The problem -- initially believed to be isolated to a particular router model made by TP-Link -- appears to affect models made by other manufacturers, including Asus, Linksys, Netgear and Synology. Complaints on a Google user forum brought the problem to light earlier this week.
IoT and 5G: New Revenues, Use Cases, Value-added Services
January 8, 2018
The 5G standards target billions of new devices that will connect to operators' networks over the next decade and beyond. Each device type serves a use case that can be high-volume with low throughput requirements, or low-volume but high-value from a customer's point of view. The list of use cases keeps growing as new types of devices are added to the network, and as existing devices find new use cases with embedded mobile connectivity.
P2P WiFi Plan Challenges ISP Dominance
December 20, 2017
Open Garden has announced the launch of a new P2P service that allows users to share Internet connections and unused plan data for free, with compensation in a new cryptocurrency as an extra incentive. The company is offering the service through an app that can be downloaded from Google Play. The system requires no hardware other than an Android phone to participate in the Internet access sharing.
New Open Source Tools Test for VPN Leaks
December 13, 2017
ExpressVPN on Tuesday launched a suite of open source tools that let users test for vulnerabilities that can compromise privacy and security in virtual private networks. Released under an open source MIT License, they are the first-ever public tools to allow automated testing for leaks on VPNs, the company said. The tools are written primarily in Python, and available for download on Github.
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Rakuten Super Logistics
Is "too much screen time" really a problem?
Yes -- smartphone addiction is ruining relationships.
Yes -- but primarily due to parents' failure to regulate kids' use.
Possibly -- long-term effects on health are not yet known.
Not really -- lack of self-discipline and good judgement are the problems.
No -- angst over "screen time" is just the latest overreaction to technology.
No -- what matters is the quality of content, not the time spent viewing it.