Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 10, 2013 - 01:38 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, smartphone, LTE, Intel, idf 2013, idf, Bay Trail, 22nm
This year at the Intel Developer Forum, Intel is announcing a slew of new products. Among the fray is a sneak peek at some of the mobile devices that will be utilizing the company's Bay Trail Atom SoCs.
The first device Intel showed off was a small Lenovo branded tablet that is likely the Intel-powered alternative to the current ARM-powered S5000 that was announced at IFA 2013 in Berlin. The Intel powered tablet is using a Bay Trail Atom SoC.
The mysteriously specc'd Lenovo tablet is not the only kit to use Bay Trail, however. Intel claims that there will be a number of new tablets on the way, including models that will be available for under $100 in time for this holiday season. Of course, beyond that specs were not announced.
Intel also showed off a new prototype smartphone that is powered by a new 22nm SoC. Ryan speculates that the chip is an Intel Merrifield-based SoC which is a mobile architecure derived from Silvermont. The company claims that the move to a 22nm manufacturing process for these mobile chips results in a 50% battery life improvement. Impressive, if those numbers hold true!
The smartphone further features an LTE radio, and Intel shared a speed test of the LTE modem during the conference. Today, the smartphone uses LTE for data and 3G for voice calls, but by the end of the year products will be able to use the LTE radio for both data and voice connections.
Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more IDF good-ness as it develops!
Subject: General Tech | July 6, 2013 - 07:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Sprint, spectrum, softbank, LTE, FCC, clearwire, 4g lte
The FCC recently approved the acquisitions of Clearwire and Sprint Nextel by Japanese company Softbank. The deals have already been approved by the shareholders and the US DoJ. Now, with the FCC red tape out of the way, the acquisitions can move forward and are expected to be completed later this month.
Specifically, Sprint Nextel will be acquiring Clearwire, and it will in turn be bought out by Softbank.Softbank is Japans third largest mobile carrier with approximately 22% of the market last year. Sprint shareholders approved the acquisition on June 25th in a deal now valued at around $21.6 billion. The FCC commented that the deal would have "no adverse competitive effects" due to the merger because Softbank and Sprint are not domestic competitors.
In fact, the FCC believes that the SoftBank acquisition may help competition among the wireless carriers in the US as SoftBank will be able to add resources and expertise to Sprint, including adding additional captial to aid in Sprint's Network Vision plans to roll out nationwide LTE and upgrade all of its existing towers to multinode base stations that can operate on multiple simultaneous bands, including Sprint's 800 MHz and 1.9GHz spectrum. The Clearwire 2.5GHz spectrum may also play a part in the Network Vision upgrade and add even more bandwidth to Sprint's LTE arsenal.
Sprint/SoftBank plans to bring LTE to 200 million people in the US by the end of 2013, with more upgrades coming in the future. The extra resources from SoftBank will help Sprint to take on Verizon and AT&T in the US, which is both good news for consumers and for Sprint.
In addition to SoftBank acquiring Sprint Nextel, Sprint will be acquiring Clearwire for $2.2 billion. This will give Sprint full control over the 2.5GHz spectrum, and is happening in spite of Dish's complaints and counter bids. Sprint will control a wide range of spectrum that will rival both AT&T and Verizion, in fact.
In all, the approximately $23.8 billion deal will see a reinvigorated Sprint, and increased pressue on Verizion, AT&T, and T-Mobile to offer competitive plans and pricing (though the effects will not be immediate). It is not clear from the various announcements if Sprint will remain branded as such, or what will happen to the MVNOs that operate on its network. It is an exciting time for Sprint though, and I hope that it works out to better wireless options for US consumers.
What do you think about the merger of Clearwire, Sprint Nextel, and SoftBank?
Subject: General Tech | March 3, 2013 - 05:37 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: smartphones, LTE, LG, Android
LG recently announced that it has sold 10 million smartphones equipped with LTE (Long Term Evolution) radios. That number is merely a small slice of the total 90.9 million LTE phones shipped in 2012 by all manufacturers, but it is an impressive number for the South Korean company.
LG attributes its record sales to is flagship Optimus G and other LTE smartphones being launched in the United States, Japan, Germany, and South Korea. LG smartphones are still somewhat rare in the US, with Samsung and HTC dominating the Android options here. Still, it is nice to see additional competition, and hopefully LG will make itself more widely known in North America.
Through 2013, LG expects to double its market penetration with new LTE smartphones in additional emerging markets. Surprisingly, research firm Strategy Analytics estimates that global LTE smartphone shipments will grow Year over Year 202.5% to 275 million units. That is quite the jump from 2012’s 90.9 million LTE smartphones! According to LG, part of the company’s plan to contribute to that estimated shipment number is to introduce two new smartphones in the Optimus F series, and to roll-out the existing Optimus G to 50 additional countries.
The two new Optimus F smartphones feature LTE radios, IPS displays, large displays, and beefy batteries. The Optimus F7 has a 4.7” (312 PPI) IPS display, 1.5GHz dual core SoC, 2540 mAh battery, and 2GB of RAM. The Optimus F5, on the other hand, has a 4.3” (256 PPI) IPS display, 1.2GHz dual core SoC, 2150 mAh battery, and 1GB of RAM.
It remains to be seen whether or not LG can reach its goal, but I am hopeful that the company will at least be able to give the other Android smartphone makers a run for their money with new phone designs.
You can find the full press release over at Engadget.
Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2012 - 01:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: antenna, 4g, LTE, 3g, GSM
The duties of a mobile phone have changed drastically over the past decade, starting as a simple voice communications tool and evolving into today's video phones, movie players and occasionally productivity tools. There is one thing inside every cell phone which has not changed at the same pace but is vital to the functionality of the phone, the antenna. As the expectations of fast transfer speeds rise with the advent of new communication standards like LTE, phone manufacturers are faced with two growing problems. The first is the diminishing tolerances allowed on the antennas, while less than perfect tuning was acceptable for GSM you cannot let the tuning slip with higher bandwidth standards. The second is the growing electronic background noise which is omnipresent and growing each year, causing degradation of your cellular signal. The solution might be RF-MEMS ( Radio Frequency Micro-ElectroMechanical Systems) antennas with software controllable tuning which could ease the difficulties of providing tighter tolerances and boosting signals. The Inquirer covers two companies working on this technology here.
"Smartphones nowadays come with big screens, megapixel-packed cameras and, thanks to apps, many, many more features than anyone could have dreamed of in the early days of mobile telephony. It has even reached the stage where making telephone calls is just one small part of a modern phone. And yet the need to support all the radio technologies punters expect to be able to use, for voice and for data, ensures that wireless communications is still the hardest part of a phone’s design to get right."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- TSMC 16nm FinFET rollout to come earlier than expected, says Digitimes Research analyst
- Adobe spurts spackle into Flash's gaping holes @ The Register
- Samsung May Start Making ARM Server Chips @ Slashdot
- Apple now owns the rectangle @ The Inquirer
- Linksys EA6500 review: 802.11ac in the cloud @ Hardware.info
- Raspberry Pi gets RISC OS, can now play Elite @ Hack a Day
- Applying Power Quality Measurements to Predictive Maintenance @ TechwareLabs
Subject: Mobile | May 24, 2012 - 08:05 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: wayne, tegra 3, tegra, nvidia, LTE, icera, grey
In the middle of 2011, NVIDIA acquired a small company by the name of Icera, a maker of baseband and RF technologies that would eventually allow the company to integrate the two into a single chip. As LTE-capable devices from Verizon, AT&T and even Sprint have been announced and ship, no NVIDIA Tegra-powered phone or tablet has been able to support the feature with the lone exception of the ZTE Mimosa X in February of this year.
Today NVIDIA officially announced support and validation from AT&T on their new and growing LTE network for the Icera 410 LTE multimode chipset. This will finally allow Tegra + LTE devices to be sold and available in the US and other markets when product manufacturers integrate the two processors in future designs.
As to when we will see those designs, we aren't quite sure but nothing was announced during the NVIDIA investors day today. All we know now is that they will be coming "through this year and next."
“Validation with AT&T is an achievement that paves the way for NVIDIA Icera-powered LTE devices on the AT&T network through this year and next,” said Stan Boland, senior vice president of Mobile Communications at NVIDIA.
The NVIDIA Icera 410 LTE modem delivers lightning-fast web browsing, video streaming and multiplayer gaming to tablets and clamshell devices. It is the first Icera modem to implement 4G LTE in NVIDIA’s software defined radio baseband processor. Together with its multimode radio transceiver, the chipset offers 4G LTE at category 2 data rates (up to 50 Mbps) as well as 4G HSPA+, 3G and 2G compatibility.
What we DID learn at the NVIDIA investors meeting is that Mike Rayfield, GM of Tegra business unit, things we'll see as many as 30 Tegra 3 based devices for sale this year.
NVIDIA has 30 devices planned for the year. So far, we've seen just two. Of those 30 devices, some 15 will be planned for sub-$200 pricing. That's certainly the sweet spot for impulse purchases.
NVIDIA's also looking to make inroads into the Chinese market, with 18 of those 30 tablets targeted for the Asian nation. By comparison, NVIDIA only released five devices in China in 2011, Rayfield said.
The big name to know for the rest of the year is Kai. That's the low-cost, high-performance system that NVIDIA is crowing about these days, and it's what will help bring prices down while keeping prices at a more affordable level. Will there be higher-performing tablets? Sure. But will they be $200?
Producing a number of devices, like 30, is impressive but without context the fact means very little. How many of these devices are going to tablets and how many are phones? How many will be running the Microsoft Win RT operating system for ARM due out in fall?
Speaking of Icera though, NVIDIA also showed the roadmap for LTE integration including the upcoming Icera i500 LTE controller for high-end phones and tablets with newly planned integration directly on the Tegra core in a new chip called "Grey". This new processor will run parallel with the planned 2013 release of "Wayne" though it will be targeted at smartphones and lower end tablets; Wayne is planned to find its way into higher end tablets and the onslaught of clamshells we'll see with Windows RT.
There is a lot more to learn and we expect see more news come our way as we approach Computex in Taipei!
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