FCC Wireless Spectrum Auction Bidding Closes at $19.6 Billion

The FCC’s wireless spectrum auction has concluded, generating $19.6 billion in total bids, less than many analysts’ expectations but still “an amazing success,” according to former FCC chair Julius Genachowski, who said the auction will lead to additional investment and innovation. AT&T, Comcast, Dish Network, T-Mobile and Verizon were among the 62 bidders who made upfront payments last year. More than $10 billion of the money raised will go to broadcasters that opted to relinquish spectrum rights, more than $6 billion to the federal deficit, and up to $1.75 billion to broadcaster costs for changing channels. Continue reading FCC Wireless Spectrum Auction Bidding Closes at $19.6 Billion

Apple’s iPhone 8 to Feature Wireless Charging, OLED Screen

Apple may dub its next smartphone either iPhone 8 or iPhone X, but whatever the name, it will be a special 10th-anniversary version and, says a knowledgeable source, is likely to cost more than $1,000. That’s not really a stretch when you note that the 256GB version of the iPhone 7 Plus already sells for $969. The iPhone 8 will feature a range of new features, including an OLED display and a memory upgrade, both of which are expensive. The 5.8-inch phone is expected to look like a smooth black monolith. Continue reading Apple’s iPhone 8 to Feature Wireless Charging, OLED Screen

Whole Home Wi-Fi Devices Improve Performance, Connectivity

Wi-Fi devices are improving as part of what’s called “whole home Wi-Fi,” featuring better technology with more effective antennas, more efficient network architecture, and sleeker designs. Among the new Wi-Fi devices recently reviewed are Netgear’s Orbi, Ubiquiti Networks’ AmpliFi, and Linksys’s Velop. The move to improve Wi-Fi comes at a time when the Internet of Things and connected devices in the home grow in importance and market share. Wi-Fi routers that work seamlessly are crucial to their smooth functioning. Continue reading Whole Home Wi-Fi Devices Improve Performance, Connectivity

Trump Promotes Net Neutrality Opponent Ajit Pai to FCC Chair

President Trump has named Ajit Pai as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He will replace Tom Wheeler, who stepped down on Friday. Pai, appointed as an FCC commissioner in 2012 by President Obama, has opposed many of the Commission’s recent initiatives, such as regulating cable mergers, introducing consumer privacy protection, and establishing net neutrality. In a December letter to the leaders of CTIA, NTCA, WISPA, the American Cable Association and Competitive Carriers Association, Pai and fellow commissioner Michael O’Rielly wrote of net neutrality’s “disproportionate impact … on smaller sized broadband providers,” promising to “revisit … the Title II Net Neutrality proceeding … as soon as possible.” Continue reading Trump Promotes Net Neutrality Opponent Ajit Pai to FCC Chair

HTC Announces Wireless Tracking for Vive, Adds Peripherals

The HTC Vive, a room-scale virtual reality headset, is expanding its feature set to include wireless functionality and peripheral devices. The company has announced that the TPCast adapter will grant the Vive fully wireless capabilities without introducing noticeable latency or degraded image quality. Developed internally and produced by TPCast, the device promises up to two hours of battery life, with the possibility of upgrading to an “XL” battery providing up to five hours. The included transmitter sends an uncompressed signal directly to a receiver mounted on top of the strap that holds the Vive to the user’s head, and the battery pack fits easily in a pocket. The TPCast will ship in Q2 of this year, and will cost $249. Continue reading HTC Announces Wireless Tracking for Vive, Adds Peripherals

CES: Glance Clock Provides New Uses for a Familiar Object

Glance Clock offers a visual solution for dealing with daily information overload. The stylish modern clock is linked by Bluetooth for proximity response or Wi-Fi for building wide connections to mobile phones. The device highlights select information as it updates on a smartphone or digital assistant. Calendars break down the day in colorful graphics on the clock face. Users can highlight notifications about to-do items and important events, anniversaries and more. Weather forecasts are announced by colorful animations and related details. As a direct indication of wider scale ambient reach, it also can display responses from Alexa or announce an Uber arrival with visuals and sounds. Continue reading CES: Glance Clock Provides New Uses for a Familiar Object

Samson Reveals Tiny Solution for Smartphone Audio at CES

While smartphones have massively shrunk the size of a credible video camera, sound has lagged behind until now. At CES 2017, New York-based Samson Technologies introduced its soon-to-be-released Go Mic Mobile system, featuring an absolutely tiny onboard professional two-channel wireless microphone receiver that attaches to a smartphone and operates the 2.4GHx band with 100 feet of operable range. It automatically selects the clearest operating channel with uncompressed, low latency audio transmission to avoid audio sync issues. Continue reading Samson Reveals Tiny Solution for Smartphone Audio at CES

Bluewave Showcases GET: 24-Bit Hi-Fi Headphone Amplifier

During CES, Montreal-based Bluewave privately showed the first Bluetooth aptX HD wireless headphone amplifier. The high-powered, high-fidelity, 24-bit portable solution allows any standard headset to receive near wired quality of the new aptX HD methodology. It also features an onboard MEMS microphone to add telephone conversations to a favorite production headset with the added boost of Bluetooth portability. The $100 GET is truly portable and ultra-compact (45mm x 22mm x 10mm) and weighs only 30 grams. Continue reading Bluewave Showcases GET: 24-Bit Hi-Fi Headphone Amplifier

FCC, Net Neutrality Face Changes Under New Administration

The Federal Communications Commission is undergoing changes prior to the transition to a new administration. When the Senate adjourned without voting on a new term for commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, it sealed her departure at the end of December. And when President-elect Donald Trump takes office, Tom Wheeler will step down as chairman of the FCC, although his term as commissioner runs through 2018. Trump has not yet mentioned names with regard to the next FCC chairman, but it will likely be someone opposed to net neutrality. Continue reading FCC, Net Neutrality Face Changes Under New Administration

HTC Vive Now Wireless with Add-On Upgrade From TPCAST

HTC Vive is now wireless, with an add-on tetherless upgrade from TPCAST, a startup with HTC’s VR accelerator, Vive X. The wireless kit was for sale on Vive’s Chinese website, and quickly sold out; Vive did not reveal how many units were for sale. Priority was given to potential buyers with a valid Vive serial number. Priced at 1,499 RMB (~$220) plus shipping, the wireless add-on will begin to ship in the first quarter of 2017 to those who pre-ordered. Other companies are said to be working on wireless upgrades to Vive. Continue reading HTC Vive Now Wireless with Add-On Upgrade From TPCAST

Apple Considers AR Tech for Wireless Digital Glasses Project

Insiders report that Apple is working on a pair of wireless digital glasses that would connect to iPhones and possibly use augmented reality. “While still in an exploration phase,” reports Bloomberg, “Apple has talked about its glasses project with potential suppliers” and “the company has ordered small quantities of near-eye displays from one supplier for testing.” According to those familiar with the concept, Apple isn’t ready for mass production and, if it moves forward with the eyewear, we shouldn’t expect to see a product until 2018. Chief exec Tim Cook, under pressure to make up for waning iPhone sales, has expressed interest in AR following the success of “Pokémon Go.” Continue reading Apple Considers AR Tech for Wireless Digital Glasses Project

Qualcomm Agrees to Buy NXP Semiconductors for $39 Billion

Qualcomm, known for its mobile processors and wireless modems, has agreed to purchase NXP Semiconductors for $39 billion. Including debt, the acquisition is valued at $47 billion, representing the largest semiconductor deal to date. The agreement exceeds the Avago Technologies $37 billion deal to buy Broadcom Corp. In terms of pure tech deals, the agreement lands behind only Dell’s $60 billion purchase of EMC. Dutch company NXP, formerly Philips Semiconductors, is a leader in the growing automotive-chip market, and Qualcomm wants to supply its chips for autonomous vehicles. Continue reading Qualcomm Agrees to Buy NXP Semiconductors for $39 Billion

DirecTV Now: AT&T Streaming TV Service to Undercut Cable

Shortly after the Time Warner acquisition made headlines, AT&T announced that its streaming TV service, launching next month, will offer 100-plus channels for $35 per month. The company previously suggested that DirecTV Now would not undercut cable. “It’s clear what customers want. They want premium content in a mobile environment,” said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. “Our goal is to drive prices down.” The move can also be seen as a way to generate support for the Time Warner deal. “Regulators will heavily scrutinize the proposed merger of two such large and influential companies, but the pair are insistent that the deal benefits consumers,” reports Wired. “Certainly, Internet television benefits consumers.” Continue reading DirecTV Now: AT&T Streaming TV Service to Undercut Cable

AT&T to Purchase Media Giant Time Warner for $85.4 Billion

Over the weekend, AT&T announced it has agreed to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion in cash and stock. If the deal passes regulatory hurdles, AT&T would become home to Turner cable networks (such as TBS, CNN and TNT), premium cable channel HBO and the Warner Bros. film and TV studios. The telco, which already owns DirecTV, would also pick up a stake in Hulu. The new business would combine the carrier’s millions of wireless and pay-TV subscribers with Time Warner’s major media entities, enabling AT&T to produce and distribute an array of content across wireless phone, broadband and satellite TV. Continue reading AT&T to Purchase Media Giant Time Warner for $85.4 Billion

AT&T Set to Launch DirecTV Now 100-Channel OTT Service

On the heels of acquiring DirecTV for almost $50 billion, AT&T plans to roll out DirecTV Now, an Internet video service, by the end of 2016. This new over-the-top service challenges the pay-TV industry with its ability to stream a 100-channel line-up to TVs and mobile devices without a satellite dish, cable set-top box or annual contract. Sources say that AT&T is likely to charge about $50 a month for the service. Currently 25.3 million subscribers pay an average of $117 a month for AT&T’s pay-TV business. Continue reading AT&T Set to Launch DirecTV Now 100-Channel OTT Service

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