Only the most passionate cell phone geeks know that the Federal Communications Commission holds a treasure trove of information on upcoming handsets. Because the FCC has to certify every phone sold in the United States, not to mention test its SAR rating, the agency's online database offers a lot of sneak peeks to those who dig. And to save you the trouble, Crave has combed through the database. Here are a selection of filings from the past week on new and upcoming cell phones. Click through to read the full report.
The Federal Communications Commission is considering a new plan that would require winners of an upcoming spectrum auction to provide free wireless Internet services.
The FCC could soon vote on a plan to auction off 25 megahertz of spectrum in the 2155MHz band of spectrum. As part of its plan, the commission would require the winner of those licenses to provide some free wireless Internet service.
The FCC sees the plan as a way to provide broadband Internet service to millions of Americans who either can't afford or don't want to pay for high-speed Internet access. Few details … Read more
CARLSBAD, Calif.--The D6 conference wrapped up on Thursday with a session on broadband access: Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher interviewed Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon Wireless, and Kevin Martin, chairman of the FCC.
Mossberg started by putting a chart up showing how far behind the U.S. is in broadband access, and how expensive our access is. Martin said you need to look at the unique demographics of the U.S., and if you compare some states, like Massachusetts, to Korea, then they'll hold up better. Of course, providing access to less-advantaged areas is still a challenge.
So … Read more
As has been widely reported (for example, by EDN Magazine and both Brooke Crothers and Dan Ackerman here at CNET), Intel has delayed the first customer shipments (FCS) of its "Montevina" chipsets, part of the new Centrino 2 platform.
The delays are pretty short, however... a matter of just a few weeks.
Intel attributes the delays to two independent problems: one with FCC certification of the 802.11n WiFi feature in the chips (just "paperwork," Intel says), and one with the integrated graphics engines in some models.
Intel's probably right about the WiFi certification problem. … Read more
The transition to digital TV is going smoothly for broadcasters, according to a government report issued earlier this week. But lawmakers are still worried that consumers may still be confused or unaware of the change.
In February 2009, TV broadcasters will vacate wireless spectrum used to broadcast analog TV signals. Instead, broadcasters will transmit digital TV signals, which use spectrum more efficiently and provide better picture quality. The transition to digital means that some older TVs, and TVs with analog-only tuners, will have to be retrofitted to tune into digital signals.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued Tuesday said … Read more
Consumers want more choice when it comes to mobile phone service.
At least that's the big conclusion from a consumer survey published Wednesday by IBM's Institute for Business Value. According to the report, 80 percent of consumers said they'd prefer a service provider that gave them more choice in the applications and services available on their mobile device.
This is welcome news for advocates of open networks, such as Google. The Internet giant has effectively lobbied the Federal Communications Commission to include a provision in the recent 700Mhz spectrum auction to force the winner of some licenses … Read more
If you hate paying a fee to end your cell phone contract yearly (and really, who doesn't?), you'll be interested to know that the Federal Communications Commission may just have your back. The Associated Press is reporting today that the FCC is considering proposals to regulate, but not eliminate, the early-termination fees (ETFs) that have become a sore spot for cell phone owners. Currently, wireless carriers charge up to $200 for customers who leave service contracts before their end date.
The FCC is not commenting on the proposal, but according to the AP, the agency is negotiating with … Read more
Microsoft demos Zune advertising service http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/146109/ microsoft_demos_zune_advertising_service.html… Read more
The Federal Communications Commission says Best Buy and other retailers must pay more than $3 million in fines for selling analog TVs without labels that explain the sets won't work after the digital TV switchover next February.
In a 41-page legal document filed last week (and dug up by Ars Technica), Best Buy essentially says, "Oh yeah? Make us."
There have been many bumps along the way to the February 2009 switch to all-digital TV in the U.S. The FCC is spearheading the transition and has established deadlines to help it along. Best Buy alone was … Read more