Wi-Fi Product Watch, November 2009

The new BlackBerry Bold 9700 ($449.99) is available today from AT&T. Features includeWi-Fi, visual voicemail, and built-in GPS. With a two-year contract and rebate, the price drops to $199.99.

November 23, 2009

Shoppers looking for a new Wi-Fi-enabled BlackBerry from T-Mobile will have the chance to take advantage of Black Friday weekend (11/27 – 11/29) promotions, which T-Mobile says will be available to both new and existing customers.

Among the deals is the BlackBerry Bold 9700 with Wi-Fi Calling  for $149.99 with a two-year service agreement (after $50 discount).

November 19, 2009

The blogosphere is alight today with excited reports that the new version of Cisco’s popular Flip hanheld video camera will be Wi-Fi-enabled. Pocket-lint says the new Flip with Wi-Fi will go on sale early next year.


Wi-Fi Planet Holiday Wish List, 2009

We can’t tell you whether Wi-Fi Planet’s contributors have been naughty or nice this year, but we can tell you which wireless gadgets they’ve been wishing for. Click here to see the list. (Hint: an iPhone 3GS would be nice…)


Free Airport Wi-Fi for Holiday Travelers

Google is teaming with several Wi-Fi providers to offer free Wi-Fi in 47 airports during the holiday season in an effort to bring more tinsel, and less trauma, to holiday travel.

The gift comes in partnership with Boingo Wireless, Advanced Wireless Group, and Airport Marketing Income, all of which are joining Google in providing free Wi-Fi through Jan. 15 in major airports across the country.

“We’re very happy to extend our holiday Wi-Fi gift to the millions of people who will spend time in airports over the next few months,” Marissa Mayer, vice president of search and user experience at Google, said in a blog post. “We know that this is a very hectic travel season for people, and we hope that free Wi-Fi will make both traveling and connecting with friends and family a little bit easier.”

Between now and Jan. 15, about 100 million people are expected to pass through the airports participating in the service, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, Google explained. Those travelers will experience an average wait of 70 minutes once they pass through security. 

For the rest of the story click here.


Muni Wi-Fi 2.0?

WiMAX? Who needs WiMAX? Ruckus Wireless thinks the time is right to take another kick at the metro Wi-Fi can.

Ruckus today officially launched its Wi-Fi Broadband Access (WBA) solution, a suite of products that gives fixed wireless broadband operators everything they need to quickly and cost-effectively build neighborhood hot zones in areas where WiMAX is too expensive to deploy given population densities and potential revenues.

“We’re really jazzed about this story,” says Steven Glapa, Ruckus’s director of business development for wireless broadband access. “It’s a combination of the right technology, delivering a brand-new cost structure in a market that is really hungry for this.”

The company claims operators can implement WBA for as little as one-fifth the cost of a comparable WiMAX network because infrastructure is installable by more affordable “unskilled” labor and does not require expensive tower sites or licensed spectrum. Cost per megabit can be as little as 1/30th of what it is with WiMAX, Ruckus says.

For the full story, click here.


 A Closer Look at Wi-Fi Direct

The Wi-Fi Alliance recently announced Wi-Fi Direct, a new peer-to-peer protocol that will enable direct connections between Wi-Fi client devices, allowing users to do everything from syncing data between a smartphone and a laptop to displaying pictures on a flat screen television or printing them on a wireless printer—all without requiring the user to join a traditional Wi-Fi network.

The WFA intends to finalize the specification by the end of 2009, and to begin certifying products in mid-2010. In the meantime, many chip manufacturers (and Wi-Fi Alliance member companies) are offering their own pre-specification solutions, including Atheros Direct Connect, Intel My WiFi Technology, and Marvell Mobile Hotspot—all of which should be easily upgradeable to the final specification next year.

In fact, interoperability with legacy devices is a key benefit of the protocol: not only will Wi-Fi Direct generally require just a simple software upgrade, but only one of the connecting devices (not both) has to be certified to the new specification.

For the full story, click here.


Opinion: Even Wi-Fi Can’t Save Nook

Mike Elgan argues that despite the technical superiority of some new devices on the market, such as the Wi-Fi-enabled Kindle-competitor Nook from Barnes & Noble, those first to the party will continue to dominate the smartphone and e-book markets. Read his essay here.


Review: Netgear RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router WNDR3700[November 10, 2009] The pricey WNDR3700 from Netgear will not only pump out both 2.4 and 5 GHz 802.11n signals simultaneously, it offers a number of other worthwhile features as well, including guest networks, storage support, and a handy broadband traffic meter.

Review: HTC Hero from Sprint[November 5, 2009] There’s a lot to like about HTC’s Hero, but a few weaknesses keep it from claiming first place among Android-based phones.

Review: Network Magic Pro 5.5[November 4, 2009] Network Magic is designed to help the average user set up and manage a network by providing a consistent interface across different Windows and Mac versions. With Microsoft’s steady progress in usability, is it still worth the money?

Review: FON Fonera 2.0n[November 3, 2009] Do a chance to make some money from spare bandwidth, a reasonable price and polished UI offset some technical limitations and inconvenient quirks with FON’s entry into the 802.11n world? Joe Moran reviews.

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