Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Today I'm going to talk to you about something you might not have thought you needed, but once you realize what this new device can do, you might just want one. Imagine a Western Digital My Cloud, but only smaller, battery powered, and wireless. You could fill it with a bunch of movies, music, and other media for something like an upcoming family road trip. If said device could create its own wireless hotspot, the kids could connect to it via their tablets or other portable devices and watch their movie of choice during the drive. Once you are at your destination and snapping a bunch of photos, it would also be handy if this imaginary device could also mount SD cards for sharing recently taken photos with others on your trip. A bonus might be the ability to store a back-up of those SD cards as they become full, or maybe even empty them for folks without a lot of SD capacity available. As a final bonus, make all of this work in such a way that you could pull off an entire trip with *only* mobile devices and tablets - *without* a PC or a Mac. Think all of that can happen? It can now!:
Behold the WD My Passport Wireless!
Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2014 - 07:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, Creative, Sound Blaster AXX 200, wireless, speaker, microphone, battery charger
The Creative Sound Blaster AXX 200 is more that just a wireless speaker for your PC or smartphone, it is also a voice recorder, a hands free microphone for your smartphone and a battery charger. The Bluetooth speaker function can be set to stereo or 7.1 channel surround and will accept a signal from up to 10' away. The microphone feature has a similar range and can capture audio in a 360 degree area and [H]ard|OCP were also able to make a handsfree call using only the AXX 200. The USB plugs make it into a charging station as well, handy considering how integrated it is with your phone.
"With its unusual vertical, compact design, Creative's new flagship stereo speaker system features touch controls and a multitude of wired and wireless connectivity options for your mobile phone, tablet, Mac, and PC. Today, we will tell you if there is enough room in the "mix" for great sound as well."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Luxa2 GroovyW Wireless Speaker and Qi Charger Review @HiTech Legion
- Wavemaster Stax Second Generation Speakers @ Kitguru
- Tech-Life BeatBlock WET Weatherproof Bluetooth Speaker @ NikKTech
- Kingston HyperX Cloud gaming headset @ Kitguru
- TteSports Chao Dracco Captain Headset & Dracco Headphones @ eTeknix
- Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS @ techPowerUp
- Steelseries H-Wireless Gaming Headset @ Funky Kit
- SteelSeries H Wireless Gaming Headset @ NikKTech
- Tt eSPORTS Level 10 M Gaming Headset (Iron White) Review @ Madshrimps
- ROCCAT Kave XTD 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headphones Review @ Techgage
- itFenix FLO Headset Review @HiTech Legion
- CM Storm Pulse-R Aluminum Gaming Headset @ Funky Kit
- Turtle Beach Ear Force i60 Wireless Headset Review @ Legit Reviews
- Tritton Kama PlayStation 4 / Vita Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2014 - 10:04 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: wireless, sandisk, flash, CES 2014, CES
While at Storage Visions I checked out the new SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive. This is a flash drive capable as also doubling as a wireless network storage device - and it can do so under it's own power for 3-4 hours.
I really like the idea of such a device. Need several people to access the stuff on your drive? Click one button and you can! It charges off of the same USB connection used to connect it locally (i.e. the 'old school' way). Here's a closer view:
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | July 13, 2013 - 07:24 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wireless, spectrum, leap wireless, cricket, AT&T, acquisition, 4g lte
AT&T Plans To Acquire Leap Wireless (Cricket)
In a counter move to the SoftBank-Sprint-Clearwire merger, AT&T has announced its intentions to buy out Leap Wireless and its Cricket pre-paid cell service brand. AT&T will pay as much as $15 per share, which amounts to a bit under $1.19 billion (79.05 million outstanding shares at $15 per share). Before the announcement, Leap Wireless was trading at less than $8, so the bid is fairly generous. So far, approximately 30% of shareholders have voted to accept the buyout offer.
In the buyout deal, AT&T will acquire Leap Wireless, its Cricket brand in the US, licenses, spectrum, Cricket brand, 3,400 employees, and its retail locations. Cricket currently has a 3G CDMA network and is rolling out a 4G network. The company has about 5 million subscribers. AT&T will get to add a bit more spectrum to its portfolio in the PCS and AWS bands. This spectrum held by Leap Wireless is reportedly complementary to AT&T’s existing licenses.
Interestingly Leap Wireless is not doing very well, and has about $2.8 billion in net debt, and its Cricket service is loosing subscribers. AT&T would also have to assume that debt. Cricket offers up unlimited plans that include unlimited voice calls, texting, and data. AT&T has stated that it would assume control of and maintain the Cricket brand. It will continue to offer service to existing Cricket customers and would also offer up its own 4G LTE network for use by Cricket pre-paid plans (phone hardware permitting). AT&T stated in a press release that it intends to use the Leap Wireless acquisition to “jump start AT&T’s expansion into the highly competitive prepaid segment.”
The buyout deal will need to be approved by Leap Wireless as well as by the US Department of Justice and FCC. If it successfully passes through the various regulatory bodies, AT&T expects the deal to close within the next six to nine months.
Personally, I have my doubts that AT&T will continue to maintain the Cricket service as is, especially when it comes to unlimited data. As far as its pre-paid expansion, it at least tried to go down this path before with its line of Go phones. I believe that this deal is mostly about padding out AT&T’s spectrum portfolio in a bid to head off Sprint, and maintain its position against T-Mobile and Verizon. The MVNO and pre-paid market is certainly growing and AT&T is going to want a piece of that market, but I also think that the last thing AT&T wants to do is cannibalize its own contract offerings by offering up a similar pre-paid service with unlimited everything for half the price. Sure, AT&T will take it versus getting nothing, but the company is going to have a hard time balancing both offerings in a way that does not negatively effect one or both of its pre-paid and post paid services.
What do you think about the deal, is this a good thing for Cricket customers? Is AT&T serious about wanting to jump into the pre-paid market?
ASUS RT-N56U Wireless Router Review
On deck for review today is the ASUS RT-N56U “Black Diamond” Dual-band Gigabit Wireless-N Router. ASUS has a broad stable of networking equipment including wireless adapters, wireless routers, wired networking gear and even some power line networking gear. Released in late 2010, the RT-N56U is one of the lower cost offerings in ASUS’ Dual Band N series and can be found online for around $99.
ASUS RT-N56U Wireless-N Router Overview
The media review information supplied to us by ASUS claims the ASUS RT-N56U “Black Diamond” offers “Extreme performance in style.” The router’s “Aesthetic design” has a “Sexy and stylish approach with streamlined, meticulously designed and well-rounded appearance, just like diamonds sparkling and twinkling in the dark.” Now I don’t know about you, but if it’s dark, I’m not sure how you see diamond’s twinkling? But I digress; the RT-N56U is a great looking router, with the black cross hatched lattice surface we liked from previous ASUS routers.
Subject: General Tech, Networking | November 15, 2012 - 12:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: WiFox, wireless
The short blurb at Slashdot makes WiFox sound more impressive than the actual implementation will be, but for anyone who has attempted to connect to WiFi at a tech show would love to see this new software appear on wireless access points. Once a channel becomes crowded by multiple users, especially if they use devices which like to have a constant connection, the network will hit a point of saturation and the performance of every device on the network will suffer; not just the most recently connected devices. WiFox is a piece of software which can monitor channel saturation and when it is reached it will immediately assign all available bandwidth to the WAP and allow it to transmit all backlogged data before then allocating bandwidth back to the devices ... clearing the tubes as it were. It sounds like this will be easily added to existing WAPs instead of only being available to the next generation of devices so while your WAN will not suddenly become 700 times faster, the WiFi at next conference you go to might just be usable for a change.
"Engineers at NC State University (NCSU) have discovered a way of boosting the throughput of busy WiFi networks by up to 700%. Perhaps most importantly, the breakthrough is purely software-based, meaning it could be rolled out to existing WiFi networks relatively easily — instantly improving the throughput and latency of the network. As wireless networking becomes ever more prevalent, you may have noticed that your home network is much faster than the WiFi network at the airport or a busy conference center. The primary reason for this is that a WiFi access point, along with every device connected to it, operates on the same wireless channel."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Texas Instruments sheds 1,700 staff in smartphone retreat @ The Register
- The Xeon Phi at work at TACC @ AnandTech
- Interview with Netgears Rob Wells @ Hardwareheave
- 3-D Tools: Amazing Programs for Product Design @ TechwareLabs
- Kinected Browser Lets You Flick Through Websites @ Slashdot
- 1000 HAWKEN Beta Key Give Away From TechwareLabs and Mushkin
Amped Wireless R20000G and UA2000 Introduction
Continuing with our networking adapter and router reviews, today we have a pair of devices on tap from a relative newcomer to the home and office networking field, Amped Wireless. Founded in 2007, they began selling Wi-Fi products in 2010. In those 2 years they’ve already pushed out a wide array of Routers, Range Extenders, Access Points, USB Adapters and Antennas/Boosters. While they don’t have the history of Cisco, Netgear or D-Link, it’s great to see new companies entering the fray as more competition can only benefit the consumer.
Today we’re looking at their flagship High Power Router, the Wireless-N 600mw Gigabit Dual Band R20000G as well as one of their leading USB adapters, the High Power Wireless-N Directional Dual Band UA2000. List price for the router and adapter is $169 and $99 respectively, but the router and adapter can be found online for about $10 less each at Newegg.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 29, 2012 - 07:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: wireless power, wireless charging, wireless, Intel, Integrated Device Technology, charging
The wireless transfer of power, in order to recharge your mobile devices has been something that has fascinated the staff at PC Perspective for a while now. You can get toothbrushes which charge via inductance and even as far back as 2010 there were projects underway to allow cellphones to recharge without needing a wire and more importantly without needing the correct plug! More recently, the Wireless Power Consortium was a presenter at CES 2012, where they showed Matt their Qi, a coil-based charging solution capable of delivering up to 5W at a distance of 5mm, not enough to charge your phone in pocket but certainly reasonable for a charging mat. They are working on a 10W model and hope to extend it up to 120W which would be enough to power a low end PC.
Today Intel released information on their long standing wireless power technology and their new development partner, Integrated Device Technology, Inc. They intend to develop this technology on chipsets, so that a cellphone placed next to an Ultrabook would begin to wirelessly recharge without input from you. One assumes that this would not apply to a system running off of a critical battery, though the idea of being able to drain power from an unsuspecting user could lead to some interesting pranks. Check the full release below.
Even Captain Kirk would have raised an eyebrow at the prospect of wireless charging on board the Enterprise, and he probably would have given Scotty a raise! But today it’s a step closer to reality for all of us not zipping around the universe at warp speed. Demoed by Intel Labs for the first time way back in 2008, Wireless Charging Technology (WCT) by Intel literally lets you charge your smartphone wirelessly from your notebook PC. That’s right — no cables, no power cords. Of course Intel is no stranger to wireless technologies, launching Centrino mobile technology nearly a decade ago. Imagine a coffee shop without Wifi today?
Today Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT) – a technology company with specialized expertise in wireless charging - announced it will develop and deliver chipsets for Wireless Charging Technology by Intel. IDT’s product is important and new because it leads to a solution that isn’t limited to inductive charging and ‘smartphone on a charging mat’ usage. Size and cost reductions are key to IDT’s solution, as is their differentiated “resonance wireless charging technology” that simplifies the way the PC charges the phone wirelessly. Intel is working with companies like IDT, peripheral vendors (from smartphone cases to printers and cameras), OEMs, and other ecosystem partners to deliver a cost-effective and simpler path to wireless charging.
Although we are not yet giving out timeframes for consumer products with WCT enabled, IDT has stated they will be delivering their full chipset solution for reference design work in early 2013. The ecosystem is already excited about this technology so we assume there will be a race to the finish line for sure.
Imagine, for example, this wireless charging solution in an Ultrabook of the future. How would it work? You are low on juice on your phone — you simply start the WCT detection software and place the smartphone close to your Ultrabook (about an inch or so). Coupling takes place between the two devices and energy begins to seamlessly and wirelessly flow from the Ultrabook to the smartphone. Within an hour, you have recharged your smartphone sufficiently to make it through the afternoon. No more wires or chargers.
Intel will be discussing specific plans and timelines at a later date, so stay tuned for more details on this innovation that’s one step closer from the labs to your home.
Subject: Mobile | June 7, 2012 - 01:54 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wireless, gaming laptop, gaming, computex, ASUS ROG, asus, 802.11ac, 5GHz wifi
Earlier today we posted a couple of teaser photos showing off some of ASUS’ upcoming products. One of the devices was a gaming laptop called the ASUS G75. Engadget has managed to get their hands on some more information regarding a variant of the G75 – the G75VW. According to the site, the gaming laptop is rocking an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, GeForce GTX 670M, and DDR3 memory (known because of the CPU used). That hardware is then powering a 1080p display, which the GTX 670M should have no problem driving but is a bit depressing to see on a high end laptop of this size (approximately 17”). The real kicker though is in the wireless card that it is allegedly packing: an 802.11ac card.
The ASUS G75 gaming laptop
Engadget states that although the information sheet next to the laptop at ASUS’ Computex booth did not list any 802.11ac compatibility, wireless chip maker Broadcom (manufacturer of chips that are used in many wireless routers and NICs) has stated that it does in fact have an 802.11ac NIC in it. Senior Vice President Michael Hurlston told members of the press at Computex 2012 that the ASUS G75VW is the “World’s first 5G Wi-Fi laptop.” He further stated that the computer would be arriving in the hands of consumers “very shortly.”
Interesting stuff, and although the “5G Wi-Fi” – so called because it is the fifth generation of consumer grade Wi-Fi (though not the 5th gen if you count all iterations of the wireless 802.11 standards) – is not yet official and set in stone, it is very close and I would not be surprised to see the technology in a laptop like this particular ASUS at this point in the game.
And to think that I just got done upgrading my network to Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n about two months ago! Even so, I’m excited for the upcoming standard because I want to test its usefulness in getting live TV from my CableCARD tuner to the living room and Katy’s wireless laptop without stuttering – something even wireless N with MIMO can’t do with devices in the same room. So far, the only thing stable enough has been wired Cat5e Ethernet (both 100Mbps and 1000Mbps hardware seem to work without issues). And because it’s proving difficult to get a wired connection from the router to the TV (Xbox 360 used as Windows Media Extender), I’m ready to try out some 802.11ac stuff to see if it can really deliver on the increased bandwidth!
Subject: Networking | May 15, 2012 - 05:38 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wireless, router, networking, ethernet bridge, buffalo, 802.11ac
Netgear and Buffalo have been working hard to build and get to market new wireless routers based on the 802.11ac (pending ratification) standard. PC Perspective recently ran a giveaway for the Netgear 802.11ac router, but it seems that Buffalo has managed to beat them to market with their new gear. In fact, Buffalo yesterday released two 802.11ac devices with the AirStation™ WZR-D1800H wireless router and WLI-H4-D1300 wireless Ethernet bridge. Both devices are powered by Broadcom’s 5G WiFi chips (what Broadcom refers to 802.11ac as–the fifth generation of consumer WiFi) and based around the IEEE standard that is set to become an official standard early next year.
The Buffalo 802.11ac Router (left: front, right: rear view)
The router and Ethernet bridge both support the upcoming 802.11ac standard as well as the current 802.11 b, g, and n standards so they are backwards compatible with all your devices. They also support all the normal functions of any other router or bridge device–the draft support for 802.11ac is what differentiates these products. The router stands vertically and has a router reset and USB eject buttons, one USB 2.0 port, four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, and one Gigabit Ethernet WAN port. Below the WAN port is a power button and DC in jack. The Buffalo Ethernet bridge allows users to connect Ethernet devices to a network over WiFi. It looks very similar to the router but does not have a WAN port or USB port on the back. It also does not act as a router, only a bridge to a larger network. The largest downside to the Ethernet bridge is pricing: (although out of stock now) Newegg has the bridge listed for the same price as the full fledged router. At that point, it does not have much value–users would be better off buying two routers and disabling the router features on one (and because the Broadcom chipset should enable custom firmwares, this should be possible soon).
The Buffalo 802.11ac Ethernet Bridge (left: front, right: rear view)
What makes these two devices interesting though is the support for the “5G WiFi” 802.11ac wireless technology. This is the first time that the Wireless connections have a (granted, theoretical) higher transfer speed than the wired connections, which is quite the feat. 802.11ac is essentially 802.11n but with several improvements and only operating on channels in the 5GHz spectrum. The pending standard also uses wider 80 Mhz or 160 MHz channels, 256 QAM modulation, and up to eight antennas (much like 802.11n’s MIMO technology) to deliver much faster wireless transfer rates than consumers have had available previously. The other big technology with the upcoming WiFi standard is beamforming. This allows wireless devices to communicate with their access point(s) to determine relative spatial position. That data is then used to adjust the transmitted signals such that it is sent in the direction of the access point at the optimum power levels. This approach is different to traditional WiFi devices that broadcast omni-directionally (think big circular waves coming out of your router) because the signals are more focused. By focusing the signals, users get better range and can avoid WiFi deadspots.
Hajime Nakai, Chief Executive Officer at Buffalo Technology stated that “along with Broadcom, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to innovation by providing a no-compromise, future proofed wireless infrastructure for consumers’ digital worlds.”
The Buffalo AirStation™ WZR-D1800H router and WLI-H4-D1300 Ethernet bridge are available for purchase now for around $179.99 USD. The Ethernet bridge is listed as out of stock on Newegg; however, the router is still available (and the better value).