June Newsbits

It was bound to happen eventually. As gizmos and gadgets get tinier and tinier, it was inevitable that the batteries that power them shrink as well. Enter the quadruple A battery from Energizer.

Earlier this month, Energizer launched a campaign to increase awareness of and availability for the AAAA–aka “Quad A”–alkaline battery is designed for use in small consumer electronics, such as flash audio players, Bluetooth headsets, laser pointers, and LED penlights, remote controls, and home medical devices, including glucose meters and blood pressure monitors.footer_keep_going.jpg

According to a June 10th press release, “Energizer has been actively partnering with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) companies to help them design around the AAAA battery. Recently, GN, the world leader in innovative headset solutions, launched the world’s first AAAA battery-powered Bluetooth headset. Developed in conjunction with Energizer, the Jabra BT2040 is powered by a single AAAA battery that never needs to be plugged in to charge. Additionally, the Energizer AAAA is used to power the UEI Zapper–a universal remote control.”

 The diminutive AAAA is 42.5 mm long and 8.3 mm in diameter and weighs approximately 6.5 grams. (That’s 1.67″x .33″ and .23 ounces to non-metric Americans–in other words, “very small.”) Compared to AAA batteries, the Quad A is 43 percent ligher, 40 percent smaller in volume, and 20 percent thinner. 

If you’ve got a device that requires the AAAA, you can stock up at your local Walgreen’s, Target, or Best Buy. The list price is $1.75 per two-pack.




bold_device.jpgsome point this summer. RIM is being tight-lipped about specific release dates, but now that it’s officially summer, the “this summer” promise means it’s coming soon. More details about the fast (624MHz), elegant, powerful new BlackBerry with what is supposed to be the clearest display yet, visit

June 23, 2008

One year after the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) first introduced 802.11n draft 2.0 certification, the WFA reports that almost half of all Wi-Fi chipsets sold in 2008 are expected to adhere to the new (draft) standard—twice the number shipped last year. ABI Research forecasts that by 2013, more than 90 percent of Wi-Fi products will support 802.11n.

To date, the Wi-Fi Alliance says it has put the “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED” seal of approval, which indicates validated product interoperability, on 325 products, including traditional PC networking gear and consumer electronics, such as TVs, media servers, and gaming devices. According to the WFA, nearly half of the certified products also support Wi-Fi Protected Setup, which eases the process of configuring and protecting a WLAN for home users.

More than 180 enterprise-grade laptops, adapter cards, and networking solutions that include 802.11n draft 2.0 have also been Wi-Fi CERTIFIED.

“Across the board, and with a range of consumer and enterprise devices, we are seeing a real hunger for all things 802.11n draft 2.0,” said Edgar Figueroa, executive director of the Wi-Fi Alliance in a press release today. “The standard has redefined the wireless experience, enabling streaming video, gaming, and other media throughout the home, while enabling advanced applications in enterprise networks. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED delivers a great user experience with a wide range of Wi-Fi products.”

To achieve the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED seal of approval, 802.11n draft 2.0 products have been tested for interoperability across vendors, adherence to WPA2 security protocols, and backward compatibility with more than 4,500 Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 802.11a/b/g products. The certification program also includes WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia) QoS, which helps to deliver the best user experience with applications such as voice, video, and gaming.

Products based on the IEEE 802.11n draft 2.0 deliver up to five times the throughput and up to twice the range of those based on previous standards, which makes them well-suited to content-rich applications, such as VoIP and streaming video.

A list of all Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 802.11n draft 2.0 products and free white papers on 802.11n technology are available at www.wi-fi.org.


D-Link today announced the newest product in its award-winning RangeBooster N line of 802.11n-draft Wi-Fi solutions. The DIR-628 ($119.99) aimed at home users is optimized for the tasks the newest generation of home networks are being used for: HD video streaming, file sharing, VoIP calls, gaming, and, of course, basic Web access.

“With its switchable 802.11n dual-band technology, this new 11n router is a powerful solution for building out a digital home capable of driving a wide range of applications,” said A.J. Wang, Chief Technology Officer, D-Link in a press release today. “It offers superb range and performance for anyone seeking to enhance network access at an extremely affordable price.”

By incorporating a switchable dual-band architecture, D-Link has made it possible for users to use the 2.4GHz band for basic tasks, such as checking e-mail, and to switch to the less crowded 5GHz band for more bandwidth-intensive applications, such as streaming HD movies or playing World of Warcraft. The DIR-628 also includes D-Link’s Quality of Service (QoS) engine that prioritizes time-sensitive network traffic to enable smooth VoIP phone calls and responsive gaming.

The router supports WPA and WPA2 standards to ensure the best possible encryption, regardless of client devices. In addition, it utilizes dual-active firewalls (SPI and NAT) to help prevent potential attacks from across the Internet.

The DIR-628 ships with the D-Link Quick Router Setup Wizard, which is designed to be user-friendly for home consumers. It is backward compatible with 802.11g and 11b, devices including game consoles and digital media players.

The D-Link DIR-628 is shipping now and can be found at retail stores, including Best Buy, Circuit City, and Fry’s Electronics, as well as at online retailers.

June 19, 2008

More details have been released about the business arrangement with investors that will attempt to keep Philadelphia’s Wi-Fi network afloat. In a press release issued Wednesday, Network Acquisition Company, LLC (NAC), the company that acquired the former EarthLink Wi-Fi network, provided additional information on the status of the network and business opportunities moving forward.

The transaction closed on Monday, June 16, 2008; terms of the transaction were not disclosed. NAC founders include Derek Pew, Mark Rupp, and Richard Rasansky. NAC is a private company and does not have any affiliation with Wireless Philadelphia or the City of Philadelphia.

The release says that  NAC will initially focus on evaluating and improving the Tropos-based Wi-Fi network by tuning its performance for outdoor access, expanding coverage areas, and assessing the future build-out of the network’s current footprint.

Scott Green, a PR rep for Tropos said in an e-mail, “NAC’s vision is to offer both wired and unwired services to enterprises for a fee in addition to allowing free Internet access for users in the community. Unlike EarthLink’s business model that focused on providing in-home (consumer services), NAC will focus on offering both wireless and wire line services to businesses, hospitals, universities, and others, and may use advertising to help offset the cost of its free Wi-Fi service.”

The NAC press release says it will proceed by first “refining and rebuilding the network architecture to be consistent with the new business model that will use Wi-Fi to extend the reach of wired networks rather than competing with them. It is expected that this initial phase will take several months to complete.”

 Local non-profit organizations including Wireless Philadelphia and Knight Foundation will continue to use the network to deliver digital inclusion services to locals.

“The investment in wireless is good for Philadelphia’s economy and our future,” said Tom Knox, an investor, in Wednesday’s press release. 

“I am delighted to be joining such a strong team of Philadelphia investors and managers,” said Dave Hanna, Chairman of Hanna Ventures and one of the investors in NAC. “The creation of this new business entity represents a significant step in the evolution of metro Wi-Fi and we believe will result in significant benefits to the community and local economy.”

For more details, read the full release here. For more on the transition, read “Philly’s Wi-Fi Receives Stay of Execution.”


The SlingPlayer Mobile client is also availabe for the Palm OS and is in the process of being brought to the BlackBerry.

After a 30-day trial, SlingPlayer Mobile costs users a one time fee of $30.

This newsbit courtesy of PDAStreet.com.

June 10, 2008

ZyXEL, a worldwide supplier of broadband networking and Internet connectivity/routing products based in Anaheim, CA, announced today that it will be demoing a broadband digital home network multimedia solution with a wireless component at NXTComm next week in Las Vegas.

ZyXEL will offer live demonstrations of its central office Multi-Service Access Node (MSAN) and remote VDSL2 IP DSLAMs, which will provide high-speed broadband connection to two different “digital homes.”

The first simulated home demo will include two rooms, a living room and a home office. A high-speed ADSL2+ connection streaming Internet, IPTV, and telephone service will be powered by ZyXEL’s HomePlug AV Powerline solution. The living room will feature an ADSL2/2+ gateway with HomePlug AV Powerline and Wi-Fi, ZyXEL’s DMA1100P, the HomePlug AV digital media player for streaming HD content, and the V750W SIP camera. The home office will house the central network storage device (NSA220) and business VoIP phone (V500).

In a press release today, ZyXEL suggested that “IPTV and WiMAX are guaranteed to be hot topics at NXTcomm.”

ZyXEL’s second sample home demo will be powered by a VDSL2 connection streaming HD IPTV over a set-top box to a wide screen TV. ZyXEL will also show its WiMAX product line including the 802.16e CPE that has an advanced router/firewall with SIP-based VoIP built-in for an all-in-one solution.


Burton Group’s Catalyst Conference North America 2008 is scheduled for June 23-27 in San Diego, CA. Wi-Fi and WiMAX will top the agenda.

Topics addressed at the conference will include: mobile device management; security; application development; fixed mobile convergence; and next generation wireless infrastructures.

More information is available at the conference Web site.


SanDisk Corporation, a leading seller of MP3 players in the United States, announced today that its Sansa audio/video business unit has acquired MusicGremlin, a privately-held technology company that develops digital content distribution technologies.

“MusicGremlin’s digital distribution platform and capabilities will provide SanDisk with adaptive and innovative technology that will play a key role in the development of future Sansa products for consumers,” said Daniel Schreiber, General Manager and Senior Vice President for SanDisk’s Sansa audio/video business unit in a press release today.

Robert Khedouri, co-CEO and co-founder of MusicGremlin, will join the Sansa team as vice president of services, also said in the release:

“SanDisk and MusicGremlin share a core passion for granting consumers easy access to digital content. We’re very pleased that MusicGremlin technologies will soon contribute to a new generation of Sansa products and services. We look forward to joining SanDisk in realizing our vision for the future of distributed media.”

To read Wi-FiPlanet’s review of the MusicGremlin, click here.

For more on SanDisk, read “SanDisk Sansa Connect,” “SanDisk 256MB + Wi-Fi SD I/O Wireless LAN Card,” and “SanDisk, Yahoo Team Up on Wi-Fi MP3 Player.”

June 6, 2008

Reuters reported yesterday that a woman who lost her camera bag and equipment while on vacation in Florida was able to recover the stolen items when the thieves unwittingly sent her her stored photos–along with images of themselves cavorting with her camera.

According to the Reuters report, the victim left her bag behind in a restaurant. Some sticky-fingered employees snatched it and began snapping photos of themselves. Little did they know that the pilfered Canon digicam was equipped with an Eye-Fi Share, a 2GB SD card that uses Wi-Fi to automatically upload images to the user’s designated PC or to an online Web-based photo sharing service.

The ill-fated thieves had the misfortune to pass within range of an open Wi-Fi network with factory-installed settings that matched that of the camera’s rightful owner, so the Eye-Fi transferred the photos to her home computer, alerting her to the identity and location of the camera-snatchers, who Reuters reports were subsequently fired.

A new Eye-Fi card with geotagging was announced last month. Wi-FiPlanet has been trying to secure a review unit of both the Eye-Fi Share (since last October) and the new Eye-Fi Explore (since early May) to no avail. While we can’t recommend the card without reviewing it, for the user who recovered her cameras and photos, the $99 card was apparently well worth the investment.


ABI Research reported this week that more than half of broadband users in the United States today have some form of home network. ABI’s survey showed that home network growth  comes as service providers “increasingly push more advanced gateways with embedded Wi-Fi, and consumers look to extend their broadband connections beyond the original single connection in the home office.”

Only one-third of broadband subscribers had home networks in 2006.

“The home network is no longer an early adopter technology, as increasing numbers of consumers look to laptops and PCs, as well as [to] newer devices, such as gaming consoles and even Wi-Fi-enabled mobile handsets,” said ABI research director Mike Wolf in a press release Monday. “Our research shows that more than one quarter of home network owners say they have a game console on their home network, while another 8% say they have connected their mobile phone.”

The survey also showed that new areas of focus, such as media adapters and network attached storage are mixed, as consumers are not as comfortable with these new product categories.

According to Wolf, music and video are the biggest priorities for home WLANs.

“Fifteen percent of home network owners today are streaming music over the network and another one in ten is streaming video,” said Wolf. “These are early indicators that there will be consumer interest in these next-generation applications around the network. The key over time will be to create easy-to-use products that integrate seamlessly with the living room, an area of the home that carries with it different expectations regarding usability and end-user experiences. Ultimately, we expect more integration with existing consumer electronics products as well as a greater role for the service provider in managing networked media applications.”

For more on the study, visit ABI’s Web site.


JetBlue Airways announced on Wednesday it is expanding its in-flight Wi-Fi service to include a “search and discover option” from Amazon.com, as well as an e-mail and messaging platform open to both Microsoft Exchange corporate e-mail accounts and leading Web mail providers such as Gmail, AOL Mail, Hotmail, and Windows Live Mail. All of the access is provided free of charge.

Currently, JetBlue has one Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft, an A320 dubbed “BetaBlue,” which made its maiden voyage in December 2007. Customers traveling onboard BetaBlue can use their Wi-Fi enabled devices to transfer messages using free services from Yahoo! and RIM. The newly expanded services will be provided over LiveTV’s basic connectivity network platform called, “Kiteline.”

In addition to its in-flight Wi-Fi on BetaBlue, JetBlue also offers customers free high-speed wireless Internet access in Terminal 6 at New York City’s JFK International Airport, as well as at JetBlue’s Long Beach, California terminal.

Other in-flight multimedia options for JetBlue customers include 36 channels of free live, DIRECTV programming and a selection of FOX InFlight movies on a pay-for basis available on all flights. On JetBlue’s EMBRAER 190 planes and on its upgraded aircraft in its A320 fleet, passengers can listen to more than 100 channels of free XM Satellite Radio, as well.

For more in in-flight Wi-Fi, read “2008: The Year of In-Flight Wi-Fi?, ” In-Flight, Online,”and ” In-Flight Wi-Fi: On and Off.”

Naomi Graychase is Managing Editor at Wi-FiPlanet. She is old enough to have been covering technology since before the World Wide Web Consortium was formed, but young enough to have enjoyed playing Frogger on her Atari 2600 as a kid.

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