Samsung Shows the Way for WiMAX Handsets        
By Brad Smith
January 6, 2006

LAS VEGAS--The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) could be subtitled "The Future is Now." And if you think mobile WiMAX is in the future, Samsung is making it real at CES.

The Korean handset manufacturer is demonstrating a handset, the M8000, at its CES booth. The handset actually uses the Korean version of mobile WiMAX, called WiBro. Korean carriers plan on commercial launches of WiBro this spring and summer.

Some U.S. carriers are looking at WiMAX, including Sprint Nextel, although no decision has been made whether or not to use either the fixed or the mobile versions of the wireless broadband technology.

Samsung also had on display its high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) handset, the zx20, which it expects will be the first such phone for the UMTS technology. No announcement has been made, but Cingular is the only carrier in the world to have HSDPA in its network, with the technology in use in 16 cities using PC cards. Cingular has been demonstrating HSDPA downloads with 3.6 Mbps data rates, although the typical downlink speeds are 400 to 700 kbps.


CES: New WLAN chips take on video, voice
News Story by John Cox

JANUARY 05, 2006 (NETWORK WORLD) - Chip makers are showcasing their next-generation wireless LAN chips at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week, with many of the silicon advances focused on dealing with multimedia.

Though many of these vendors are targeting residential applications, the advances in quality of service and performance, as well as the ability to better handle streaming media such as voice, will affect corporate wireless deployments.

The biggest name in chips, Intel Corp., will later this week unveil more details around the next version, code-named Napa, of its Centrino mobile package of chips and firmware. Last fall, Intel officials said Napa will feature the company's first dual-core mobile processor and improved memory and wireless chip sets, but it didn't go into details. Industry observers have speculated that that the Napa wireless chip set, called Golan, will include WiMAX, a standard for broadband wireless.

In the meantime, Intel is preparing to ship the current Centrino version, called Sonoma, sometime in the first quarter of 2006. Among other wrinkles, Centrino will incorporate Intel's own 802.11a/b/g chip set. Users can expect scores of laptops emerging by year's end to feature the Sonoma components.

Atheros Communications Inc. is demonstrating a new Multiple Input/Multiple Output (MIMO) chip set at its CES booth. The new XSPAN products will be able to deliver up to 300Mbit/sec., with enough range to blanket a typical home. MIMO uses, among other things, multiple transmitters and receivers; the Atheros chip set will use three of each.

Broadcom Corp. unveiled what it says is the first Wi-Fi chip set designed for video phones. The idea is a mobile or desktop phone, designed with the Broadcom technology, can be used for phone calls that combine voice with high-quality streaming video of the two callers.

The chip set packages together a Broadcom VoIP processor, its 802.11b/g WLAN chip and a chip designed for video processing.

The package supports high-resolution video standards such as H.264 and H.263, as well as video rates up to 30 frames per second. The WLAN chip set supports the Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) quality-of-service protocol, which gives priority to voice and video packets.


OFFICIAL: Google Video Marketplace and Google Pack

Posted Jan 6th 2006 7:04PM by Brad Hill
According to emailed press releases timed to coincide with Larry Page's CES keynote this afternoon (4pm Pacific U.S. time), Google will satisfy day-old rumors by announcing Google Video Marketplace, and Google Pack.

Video marketplace is (or will be "soon") an expansion of Google Video, incorporating content from CBS, NBA Basketball, and several other first-wave providers. A directory will make content easier to find than the current hunt-and-peck near-random experience of Google Video. The press release indicates, without offering details, that the Video Marketplace stores will be Web-based, as opposed to the client-driven iTunes Music Store. A new software player will also be availalbe, though, that will offer frame-by-frame viewing and other advanced features.

Clearly, Google Video Marketplace is meant to compete with iTMS's video portion, and is inspired by the suddenly growing on-demand video market. CSI and Survivor are two CBS programs that will be offered. The NBA will provide every game on the schedule, including post-season--24 hours after the conclusion of the game. (It'll be interesting to see whether time-sensitive video content sells.) Music videos from Sony BMG. Charlie Rose interviews. Classic cartoons. Promises of new content added daily. Some kind of iPod and PSP compatibility will work. No prices are divulged as of this post.

Google Pack is a bundling of Desktop, Earth, Talk, Toolbar, Picasa, and other non-Google programs including RealPlayer (!), Trillian, Adobe Reader, Firefox, and Adobe Reader. Included is a shell that manages installation, uninstallation, and updating. Very much as Windows does for OS updates. Google Pack isn't exactly an operating system, but it sure wraps a lot of day-to-day functions into an easy package.

Google Pack is for XP only.


Google Earth in Cars?

Posted Jan 7th 2006 11:15AM by Brad Hill
there is mention of a development project with Volkswagon that would put Google Earth in cars. I know no details, but it seems to me that if merged with GPS, Google Earth could offer a real breakthrough in car mapping. Operating on the desktop, Earth offers users drive-throughs of driving directions. After an uneven experience testing a Garmin GPS unit in my car, I'd be very interested in an Earth-enhanced device.

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