Friday, June 27, 2008

American Airlines begins in-flight wi-fi trials

American Airlines began its first tests of in-flight wi-fi this week. It has installed a system called gogo, developed by Aircell, and began its first tests on Wednesday.

The service will be installed on all 15 of American’s Boeing 767-200 fleet, which mainly fly transcontinental routes in the United States.

The gogo system will give passengers access to email, the internet and VPN services through any wi-fi-enabled device when the aircraft is above an altitude of 10,000 feet.

The first service scheduled for the trial was between New York JFK and Los Angeles International and was offered free of charge. When the trial goes commercial, passengers will pay $12.95 for flights over three hours and $9.95 for short hops.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Motorola and Kodak Launch ZN5 Camera Phone

On Monday, the new MOTOZINE ZN5 camera phone was launched. This device is the result of the collaboration between phone-maker Motorola and imaging giant Kodak.

ZN5 features Kodak's Perfect Touch Technology, which will allow users to create panoramic images composed of up to three photos.

The ZN5 camera is the first comer of the Zine handset family.

It comes with five-megapixel resolution, a 4GB MicroSD card and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support. The device will be made available in the US sometime in July for the price of $507.60.

Sales of mobile phones reached 1.15 billion in 2007, market research company Gartner reported. This means a 16 percent increase from 2006, when 990.9 million phones were sold. The increase is due to the fact that technology kept evolving and consumers changed their old mobiles with new ones, looking for new features. This evolution hasn’t slown down one bit and phone sales will surely keep rising.

Last year, Motorola has lost market share, coming in third with a 14.3 percentage; other companies have had a better 2007 and recorded percentage rises: LG reached 6.8 percent, Sony Ericsson - 8.8 percent and Samsung - 13.4 percent. Nokia was declared the 2007 market leader, with a 40 percent market share and sales of about 435 million phones.

There were three new entrances in the top 10 in the last quarter of 2007: Research in Motion (RIM), ZTE and Apple. Apple launched the iPhone last June and has sold over 4 million units since then.

As new products keep on being released, there is no way of predicting how things will end up. Motorola’s new device could very well deliver the push the company is in need of.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Amazon Kindle: buyers rush for the iPod of ebooks

THE new generation of electronic books – ebooks – has fired a revolution even before they go on sale in Britain. Such is the sudden success in the United States of the Amazon Kindle, a reading device capable of storing 200 books, that UK buyers are bidding for them on eBay in the hope of shipping them over.

Although the US versions will not be fully operational in Britain, the Kindle is rapidly taking on the must-have aura of Apple’s iPod. After many false dawns, publishers fear the ebook could finally do to the book trade what the iPod has done to the music industry: turn it upside down.

One UK literary agent said: “It’s a tremendously exciting time. I can imagine a world where I would sell books direct from an author’s website.”

Another said: “Amazon clearly wants the Kindle to be the iPod of the book business.”

The Kindle, which is expected to go on sale in the UK later this year, has surprised US publishers and authors by how rapidly it has moved into the mainstream. Pat Schroeder, president of the Association of American Publishers, said: “I think people initially thought it would attract young people. But old people like it, too.”

The Kindle allows the user to increase the type size, making books easier to read for older people with impaired eyesight. When Walter Isaacson, former chairman of CNN and managing editor of Time magazine, acquired a Kindle, he soon found that his 84-year-old father and his 86-year-old father-in-law were asking for one as well as his 18-year-old daughter.

In the six months since the Kindle went on sale in the United States, it has grabbed a significant chunk of book sales. Jeffrey Bezos, founder of Amazon, said last week that the Kindle was already taking 6% of sales of books that were available in both traditional print and new electronic form.

Electronic readers of one sort or another have been around for years but the Kindle, and its rival the Sony Reader, deliver a quality and ease of use that seem to have mass appeal. The International Digital Publishing Forum, a trade group for ebook sellers, estimates that sales in March 2008 were 59% higher than in March 2007.

More than 125,000 titles are available for downloading and Simon & Schuster, the publisher, said it would add a further 5,000 titles this year.

In 2006 Harlequin Enterprises, the world’s biggest romance publisher, which sells 130m books a year, released eight titles in electronic form. Last year it decided to make all its titles available in both traditional and ebook formats.

“We blew away a lot of people’s expectations about ebooks,” said Brent Lewis, vice-president of digital and internet for Harlequin. Growing numbers of the company’s customers, he said, are reading romances on the Kindle, the Sony Reader or a mobile phone. In Japan all Harlequin’s ebooks are sold directly to customers’ mobiles.

Amazon has not decided how much ebooks for the Kindle will cost in Britain, but in America new releases and bestsellers, for example, typically cost $9.99 (£5), compared with £7.50-£10 for traditional volumes bought through the company’s website.

The Kindle, which costs $359 (£182) in America, has built-in free wireless internet connection, allowing users to download titles direct from Amazon’s website. Other firms’ readers require ebooks to be downloaded onto a computer and then transferred.

The pace of change, and Amazon’s aggressive lead, are unnerving British authors and publishers. They fear Amazon will use its dominance to squeeze them. Publishers sell books to retailers at a discount off the cover price. While 20 years ago this was about 35%-40%, Waterstone’s and Amazon now expect discounts of 50%-55%.

A pricing dispute recently led the online retailer to refuse to sell new copies of books such as Labyrinth by Kate Mosse and The 6th Target by James Patterson. The website removed its “buy now” button from about 60 books by authors of the publisher Hachette Livre UK, which also publishes Patricia Cornwell, the crime writer.

Tracy Chevalier, the historical novelist who chairs the Society of Authors, said: “What is unusual here is, Amazon is saying: ‘We are not going to sell these books.’ It’s greatly disappointing that Amazon would choose to punish authors in this way.”

Monday, June 02, 2008

Ozmo Devices Unveils the First Wi-Fi PAN Technology for Low-Power Applications

PALO ALTO, Calif - June 2, 2008 - Ozmo Devices, a developer of low-power wireless solutions, announced today that the company has developed the first low-power Wi-Fi Personal Area Network (Wi-Fi PAN) technology to bring native low-power peripheral connectivity to Wi-Fi platforms. The Ozmo solution extends the Wi-Fi functionality already existing on many platforms to include connectivity with low-power wireless peripherals such as mice and headsets. Unlike legacy WPAN technologies, Ozmo Devices' innovative approach does not require an additional radio inside the platform or a dongle to communicate with the peripheral.

Ozmo Devices' low-power Wi-Fi PAN technology includes a software driver that delivers native low-power peripheral connectivity to the platform and a highly integrated, ultra-low-power IC in the wireless peripheral that seamlessly communicates with the platform. This unique two-part approach delivers unprecedented performance and cost advantages for system developers while at the same time solving integration and interoperability problems associated with traditional approaches.

Ozmo Devices' low-power Wi-Fi PAN solution is slated for integration in high-volume Wi-Fi-enabled platforms, and major peripheral manufacturers are actively sampling the Ozmo IC for their new designs. According to Brian VanHarlingen, Senior Technologist at Belkin, Ozmo Devices is enabling a new generation of wireless peripherals that can deliver unrivaled performance and convenience. "Belkin is committed to adopting new technologies that improve the consumer experience," he commented. "Ozmo Devices' innovative, practical approach to low-power Wi-Fi PAN promises to deliver both rich functionality and convenience through previously unrealized Wi-Fi functionality. We view Ozmo's technology as offering unique value to the peripheral market, and we look forward to introducing solutions that deliver on these promises."

Introduction of Ozmo Devices' low-power Wi-Fi PAN technology is ideally timed to leverage Wi-Fi's emergence as the preeminent technology for wireless networks. Over 100 million Wi-Fi-enabled notebook computers will ship in 2008, and ABI Research forecasts that over 240 million Wi-Fi-enabled consumer electronics devices will ship in 2011. Manufacturers of portable media players and home entertainment platforms are rapidly adopting Wi-Fi in response to consumer demand for secure, reliable wireless connectivity.

Ozmo Devices was founded as H-Stream Wireless in December 2004. The company is privately held and funded by Granite Ventures, Intel Capital, and Tallwood Venture Capital. The company is led by a team of renowned semiconductor and wireless industry veterans, including President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Timm, Chief Technical Officer Katelijn Vleugels, Vice President of Engineering Mike Schwartz, and Vice President of Software Jon Edney.

According to Dave Timm, Ozmo Devices' WPAN connectivity solution benefits platform developers, peripheral manufacturers, and users alike. "Wi-Fi has emerged as the wireless technology of choice, both at home and in the office. By leveraging the Wi-Fi chip that's already in so many mobile platforms, we're able to natively deliver wireless peripheral connectivity. Our unique low-power Wi-Fi PAN technology eliminates the interoperability and performance issues that have hindered broad adoption of traditional WPAN approaches. With Ozmo's low-power Wi-Fi PAN solution, users will enjoy the convenience of wireless operation without constantly worrying about performance, security, and battery life."

"Thanks to falling prices and improvements in basic technologies, the potential of Wi-Fi beyond its current application in enterprise, residential, and metro wireless LANs has been clear for some time," said Craig Mathias, a principal with the wireless and mobile advisory firm Farpoint Group (Ashland, MA). "Ozmo Devices' introduction of its low-power Wi-Fi PAN is a remarkable innovation that will change how users think about Wi-Fi, expanding applications and improving performance in the bargain. This is a very important new direction for Wi-Fi."

Ozmo Devices' Timm added that the company looks forward to broad adoption of its technology in applications ranging from mobile computing and communications to home entertainment.

About Ozmo Devices
Founded in December 2004 as H-Stream Wireless, Ozmo Devices is the leading provider of low-power Wi-Fi PAN solutions. Ozmo Devices extends the functionality of Wi-Fi-enabled platforms to seamlessly communicate with peripherals. Ozmo Devices' silicon solution delivers superior performance for low-power wireless peripherals like mice and headsets. Ozmo Devices is backed by top-tier venture capital firms and managed by semiconductor industry veterans. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and has offices in the United Kingdom. For more information about Ozmo Devices, visit