Topic mobile

Does millimeter wave cellular broadband offer rural applications?

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in mobile on (#21FVT)
A New York University (NYU) student research team pushed the envelope for millimeter wave network range in a recently conducted field test in rural southwest Virginia. Setting up a millimeter wave transmitter on the porch of the country home of their professor Ted Rappaport, the students found that they could receive signals at distances of over 10 km (6.2 mi) even when line of sight was obstructed by a hill or a stand of trees. Equally significant, the millimeter wave transmitter needed less than 1 watt (W) of power operating at 73 GHz.

The FCC in June opened 11 GHz of new spectrum in the millimeter wave band to network operators for the development of 5G technology. The results of the NYU student research team’s field trial bode well for prospective carrier-grade applications, particularly regarding using existing cellular telecom infrastructure to provide 5G broadband services in underserved rural areas, according to Prof. Rappaport. The results could broaden industry participants’ and regulators’ perspectives regarding the use of millimeter wave technology

Others disagree with that conclusion. University of California, San Diego professor of electrical and computer engineering Gabriel Rebeiz pointed out that the field trial was conducted over two days when the skies were clear. Previous research has found that rain can reduce millimeter wave signal strength at a rate of 20 decibels per kilometer, the equivalent of nearly 100-fold per kilometer. Despite its potential in urban areas, Rebeiz still believes proposing to use millimeter wave technology in rural areas is a non-starter.

First US Android flip phone launched

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in mobile on (#1XDTQ)
story imageThe first Android flip phone to be sold in the US is here. TracFone's ZTE Cymbal T is now available to order, today, from Best Buy at the early adopter price of $100. Other than having a flip phone form factor, the Cymbal is a typical entry-level Android phone with a nameless quad-core processor, 3.5 inch 320×480px screen, 8GB (3GB usable) of internal memory, 1GB of RAM and Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. There's a memory card slot, a 5MP camera and a removable battery. The Cymbal runs on the Verizon network and includes 4G LTE support.

The ZTE Cymbal is quite large for a flip phone at 4.72×2.40×0.72 inches. Compared with the Classic Motorola RAZR V3, the Cymbal is almost an inch taller, and obviously wider and thicker. On the other hand, at 3.5 inches, the screen is small when compared with most current phones. While there is a roomy physical keyboard, it's only used for dialing phone numbers, the smallish on screen QWERTY keyboard is used for texting and other text entry.

Pregnancy-tracking app exposes sensitive personal information

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in mobile on (#1NZKC)
Consumer Reports Labs tested Glow, a very popular menstrual cycle/fertility-tracking app, and found that the app's designers had made a number of fundamental errors in the security and privacy design of the app, which would make it easy for stalkers or griefers to take over the app, change users' passwords, spy on them, steal their identities, and access extremely intimate data about the millions of women and their partners who use the app.

According to Consumer Reports, "The ability to link accounts opened the way to the first vulnerability we found. It was a startling one. ... We discovered that as soon as a user sent the request to another user, their accounts were linked and the requesting user could see much of the other account's data— without the other account having to do anything.

The owner of the second account would receive an email saying that another user had made the request, but it didn’t matter if that email got stuck in a spam folder or was never opened. The second user did not have to acknowledge or accept the invitation. As long as second account wasn’t already linked with another one, the first person who requested linking of the account instantly gained access to the account's data.

Even worse, using the app-security software researchers were able to change any user’s password without knowing the old password. The request for the old password was just for show, like a door lock with the deadbolt missing. It gave the appearance of security, but it didn’t offer real protection against a malicious user.

AT&T raises data caps for U-Verse and GigaPower to 1TB per month

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in mobile on (#1NZJ6)
AT&T announced on Friday that the company will be providing 1TB of data a month to U-Verse customers, at speeds up to 300 megabits per second starting August 21st. This should be enough data to stream more than 13 hours of HD video content per day.

AT&T will, however, charge customers if they go over their monthly allowance. For $10, customers can get an additional 50GB of data during the current billing cycle. According to the company, the maximum monthly overage charge is $100, which works out to 500GB of additional data. Customers will not be charged overage fees during the month they initially break through the data cap. In the following month, customers will receive warnings when they hit 65-percent, 90-percent, and 100-percent overages, but won’t see overage charges on their bill.

To bypass all this data limit mess, U-Verse customers without DirecTV or the U-Verse TV service can get unlimited data in the home for an additional $30 a month. Cheryl Choy, VP of data and voice products, said that these customers can switch to the unlimited plan anytime they want, even during the middle of a billing cycle.

6 counterfeit iPhones from China

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in mobile on (#1HNB9)
story imageApple is one of the biggest targets when it comes to Chinese smartphone knockoffs — it's not uncommon to hear about a device being sold overseas that looks strikingly similar to the iPhone. So it came as a surprise on Friday when a battle between Apple and China over an iPhone patent entered the public eye, calling Apple a copycat manufacturer.

Chinese manufacturer Shenzhen Baili alleges the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus designs infringe upon its own 100C smartphone intellectual property, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The case is currently being reviewed by the Beijing IP Court. Apple has been copied so many times by Chinese manufacturers that it's hard to take Shenzhen Baili seriously. To hit home that point, we've rounded up 6 of the best fake iPhones and other Apple products that have popped up in China.

The return of Nokia branded phones and tablets

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in mobile on (#1ESPK)
A startup called HMD Global Oy (Helsinki, Finland) has been formed to takeover the Nokia brand for mobile phones and tablet computers and has said it intends to spend $500 million marketing Nokia as an Android-based mobile device over the next three years. HMD is owned by Smart Connect LP, a private equity fund managed by Jean-Francois Baril, a former Nokia executive, as well as by HMD management. As part of the same deal, Microsoft is selling remaining feature phone business assets to FIH Mobile Ltd., a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industries (trading as Foxconn Technology Group).

HMD said it will produce smartphones and tablets that run the Android operating system. However while it is clear that HMD/Nokia will not be a manufacturers of mobile devices it remains unclear as to whether it will even perform its own design. The whole focus of the launch announcement was that HMD would focus on marketing and brand. It may yet also outsource the design of its devices and focus on putting its brand in front of consumers eyes and developing services that are accessed through those devices.

http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1329712

Big phones work for everyone, except you

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in mobile on (#19R2T)
When the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 came out in 2014, I refused to believe smaller size phones were truly dead. I didn’t want to believe they’d done it, but the signs were clear. Other iPhone owners told me there would be an adjustment period. I would have an easier time using and holding onto a live fish, the way it flops around in my hand. The time I spend using my phone hasn’t changed, but now my hands go numb and wrist and fingers ache holding it.

In bounding after large screens, phone makers seemed to ignore the usability issues that accompany them. Small studies have shown before that 4.3 inches is about as big as a phone can get before people start struggling to use it. The time to operate the phone slows down significantly because one-hand use is awkward—and that's for average men's hands. Assuming a normal distribution, a phone bigger than 4.3 inches is too big. People were especially annoyed about their inability to use the phone safely with one hand. Women’s clothes also haven’t caught up to the big-phone trend. It’s weird, isn’t it, how bad of a design choice this seems to be, from a company whose driving force is good design?

That brings us to the economic explanation, and my own personal conspiracy theory: There are powerful interests that want us to drop our phones so they can fix them and sell us new ones. If you took the earlier versions of the iPhone in, it wasn't uncommon to get a free replacement phone for one with a cracked screen. Fast forward a few years, and Apple now charges $99 to replace the screen on an iPhone 6S, even if the owner bought the AppleCare warranty.

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/a-big-phone-works-for-everyone-but-you

Finger Phone now a reality

by
Anonymous Coward
in mobile on (#180CD)
Now you can stick your finger in your ear to make a phone call, not just pretend to talk to someone thanks to an invention by Samsung. The device from Samsung spin-off Innomdle Lab fits any standard wristwatch and connects to Google Android smartphones. When a phone call arrives, the wearer can accept it with a button on the band, and audio is translated into vibrations which travel up the skin. By pushing their index finger on to the front of the ear, or tragus, the user can hear the conversation even though no one around them hears a thing.

Huawei reveals new smartphone battery that charges 10 times faster

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in mobile on (#X8VJ)
The Chinese smartphone company Huawei has unveiled their new quick charging lithium-ion batteries at the 56th Battery Symposium in Japan. Using next generation technology, these new batteries have achieved a charging speed 10 times faster than that of normal batteries, reaching about 50% capacity in mere minutes.

Huawei presented videos of the two types of quick charging lithium-ion batteries: one battery with a 600 mAh capacity that can be charged to 68% capacity in two minutes; and another with a 3000 mAh capacity which can be charged to 48% capacity in five minutes to allow ten hours of phone call on Huawei mobile phones.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2015/1116/Quick-charge-battery-could-charge-smartphone-10-times-faster

T-Mobile cracks down on unauthorized tethering on "unlimited" data plans

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in mobile on (#K8AY)
In an open letter to T-Mobile customers with an unusually furious tone, CEO John Legere announced an immediate crackdown on 3,000 users engaging in unauthorized tethering on "unlimited 4G LTE" data plans, calling the practice "stealing data". He claims the affected users are "hacking" and "using workarounds to conceal their tethering usage" to circumvent the 7 GB cap on tethered ("Mobile HotSpot") data, allowing them to use as much as 2 terabytes of data in a month, and this behavior "could eventually have a negative effect" on other T-Mobile customers. "Customers who continue to do this will be warned, then lose access to our Unlimited 4G LTE smartphone data plan, and be moved to an entry-level limited 4G LTE data plan."

Legere is walking a fine line, because the FCC has been very clear that "unlimited means unlimited." FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said in June, "The Commission is committed to holding accountable those broadband providers who fail to be fully transparent about data limits." The commission fined AT&T $100 million for misleading mobile customers about its "unlimited" data plans, throttling data speeds after customers hit a certain data cap. Tracfone also got hit with a $40 million in January for falsely advertising its unlimited plan. Verizon had to abandoned plans to slow down 4G connection speeds for unlimited data plan customers after FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler openly called the plan "disturbing." The FCC issued a similar notice to T-Mobile last year, which improved its notifications when it throttles unlimited plan customers.
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