For the Consumer Electronics Show, set for early January, 2011 is shaping up to be the year of the tablet. Yet the most (some would say only) successful tablet to date is the one that won't be at CES. Apple sold 7.5 million iPads in the first six months and no doubt millions more this holiday season. Its shadow will hang over the show, forcing a wide range of companies--chipmakers; computer hardware and consumer-electronics companies; software developers and wireless carriers--to announce plans for tablets. Here's what we're expecting to see.
If you believe in tech fortune-telling, you'll soon be able to reach out and (sort of) touch someone. By 2015, mobile phones will be projecting 3D images of callers and batteries will run on air alone, according to prognosticators at IBM.
Big Blue's list of tech predictions for the next five years includes kinetically powered laptops and computers that predict traffic jams in real time, Bloomberg reports.
Batteries of 2015 could last 10 times longer than those of today, and could be based on "energy-dense metals that only need to interact with the air to recharge," it said. … Read more
The Federal Communications Commission officially adopted Net neutrality rules this week, but the agency's authority to enforce the controversial rules may still be in question.
With the support of Democratic FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, as well as the two other Democratic commissioners, the agency passed the rules in a 3-to-2 vote. The new Net neutrality rules essentially create two classes of service subject to different rules: one that applies to fixed broadband networks and one for wireless networks. The FCC says this is necessary because wireless networks are technologically different from fixed broadband networks.
The first rule requires both … Read more
High-speed Internet is the technology that's had the greatest impact on society and the one that people say they can't live without, according to survey results from Zogby Interactive.
Released this week, Zogby's study found that 28 percent of those polled tagged broadband Internet as the one technology they can't live without; e-mail came in second at 18 percent. Facebook was lower on the overall list at only 3 percent, but among the younger crowd (18-24), 15 percent said they can't live without Facebook.
Looking at technologies that have had the greatest impact on society … Read more
HTC is looking to expand its R&D efforts on wireless research through a new office opening in North Carolina next year.
The smartphone maker said today it plans to lease a new R&D office in Durham, N.C., during the first quarter of 2011.
The site will kick off with a staff of around 45 people who'll conduct research into multiple areas of wireless technology, according to HTC, which plans to expand the facility further during the new year and beyond.
commentary During one of the busiest online shopping periods of the year, legislation that protects online shoppers from being preyed upon by unscrupulous marketers and Internet retailers could become law soon.
A bill called the "Restore Online Shoppers' Confidence Act" was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week and should soon hit the desk of President Barack Obama.
The legislation is designed to stop a practice made infamous by three marketing firms: Webloyalty, Vertrue, and Affinion. These companies presented ads for membership programs to consumers just as they were completing transactions at Web stores. The … Read more
Cricket Wireless is getting into the music biz this CES. Today, the regional, no-contract carrier revealed a new service plan that wraps unlimited music downloads, playback, and ringtone creation into the customer's monthly charge. For $55 per month, the MuveMusic ("move") plan includes music downloads, ringtones, and ringback tones in an unlimited talk, text, e-mail, and Internet plan. (And yes, labels EMI, Sony, Warner, and Universal are all signed on).
This is the first carrier-driven service that doesn't try to sell you either a separate music subscription or piecemeal ringtones and tracks through an online store. Interestingly, the music is completely tied to the phone. Song files are stored on the phone's microSD card, but aren't transferable to a computer.
And since the all-you-can-eat music buffet is fueled by your monthly plan, customers get access to their beats as long as they settle their bills. Skip a month and the full-track downloads--along with calls, e-mail, texting, and browsing--disappear until the piper's been paid. In that sense, Cricket's musical leanings follow the renter's model.… Read more
A data breach at Gawker Media last weekend had a ripple affect for sites all over the Web.
Gawker's Web site and back-end database were compromised, and passwords, usernames, and e-mail addresses for about 1.3 million user accounts were posted on the BitTorrent site Pirate Bay. Passwords were encrypted with technology, but weak passwords can easily be cracked.
People who use the same password on multiple sites are at risk of having their accounts on those other sites compromised. This happened already on Twitter, with some accounts being used to send spam shortly after the Gawker breach was … Read more
eBay said yesterday that it has bought Critical Path Software, a mobile-app developer that had already been working with the auction site for the past couple of years.
Helping to design several eBay mobile apps, Portland, Ore.-based Critical Path has partnered with eBay's mobile group to create eBay for the iPhone and eBay Classifieds. Critical Path and eBay also teamed up to develop StubHub, a ticket-buying app, and Shopping.com, a shopping comparison app.
The acquisition is part of eBay's move to focus even further on the growing mobile market. The auction site has also been busy … Read more
The fifth-largest U.S. carrier may never have had much in the way of 3G networks, but MetroPCS is continuing to close the gap by expanding its 4G LTE markets to major U.S. cities.
Today, New York, Boston, and Sacramento, Calif., join the roster. For now, that gives Samsung the edge among U.S. customers, since the Samsung Craft is currently MetroPCS' only 4G-enabled phone. Although not a smartphone, the Craft was also the first LTE-enabled phone.