The Internet has been such a staple of life in the United States for so many years that we may now take it for granted. However, a new map showing the density of Internet-connected devices posted on Re/code’s Twitter account shows that we still have a very long way to go when it comes to making the worldwide web truly worldwide. More →
Not a ton of good news this week for Samsung handset owners awaiting software updates. Just three days after a highly-anticipated, Android 2.2 update began flowing to Epic 4G handsets, the code has pulled from update servers. Citing increased support calls, Sprint is looking to find the root cause of several, pesky problems.
“The issues being reported are related to data connectivity following the upgrade and SD card issues when attempting to access photos, music, etc,” reads a moderator forum post. “If you are experiencing these issues, a hard reset has been reported to resolve the problems.”
Hard reset?! Ouch. No word on who/what is at fault or when the update might be ready to download again. More →
Let’s take a trip down Memory Lane to the late-90’s. Back to a much simpler time when cheap gas, overinflated technology stocks, and unattractive computer hardware (and haircuts) reigned supreme. If, during this time, you happened to be the proud owner of a frumpy laptop (unattractive haircut optional), there is a good chance you had a certain connectivity peripheral protruding from the side of your machine… a PCMCIA network interface card (NIC).
PCMCIA stood for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, which was the name of the group that governed the cards standards. PCMCIA NICs adhering to the standard had a dual-row 68-pin configuration, were 54mm wide, and came in a variety of thicknesses — depending on which type of card you had (Type I, II, and III were the most common).
The PCMCIA NIC card was a standard after market accessory for laptops in the late 90’s. If you were interested in using your portable computer on the Internet with that new-fangled “ethernet” technology you were going to need one of these bad boys as ethernet ports were still not standard on laptops at this time. Often accompanied by a dongle, the PCMCIA ethernet adapter provided users high-speed connectivity in a dial-up world. 3Com and Xircom were two of the major PCMCIA manufacturers.
The general consensus around the BGR office is that these cards were one of the least reliable pieces of hardware one could own. Jonathan, Zach, and myself can all recount buying, returning, and exchanging, multiple PCMCIA NIC cards due to various hardware failures, driver issues, and software incompatibilities. But, at that time, they were a necessary evil.
What say you? Can you remember the days of yore when ethernet was a privilege and a bent pin or lost dongle could totally ruin your day? More →
If you’re a Verizon FiOS residential broadband customer, with a need for Internet speed, listen up. Big Red has just announced a new plan that boasts some ridiculously fast, lust-worthy uplink and downlink speeds. How fast you ask? How about 150Mbps down and 35Mbps up.
“With a downstream speed of 150 Mbps, consumers can download a two-hour, standard-definition movie (1.5 gigabytes) in less than 80 seconds, and a two-hour HD movie (5 GB) in less than four and a half minutes,” quips the press release.
“The 150/35 Mbps residential offer will be available to the majority of FiOS-eligible households, and sold as a stand-alone service starting at $194.99 a month when purchased with a one-year service agreement and Verizon wireline voice service.”
As you can see, the new service does not come cheap, but if you can afford, justify, or write-off the new hotness, we recommend giving Verizon a call and ordering the high-test connection. The press release is awaiting your scrutiny after the break. More →
Earlier this week, BGR exclusively broke news concerning a bug plaguing several owners of the new Dell Venue Pro smartphone. Users reported an inability to connect their devices to secured Wi-Fi networks. Dell issued an official response to the report on a company blog Thursday morning:
We have confirmed that the Wi-Fi connectivity issue that was reported in blogs like Boy Genius Report and Ubergizmo resulted from a software glitch during Dell’s manufacturing process. The issue affected some of our initial phone shipments and was not a hardware issue or a Windows Phone 7 one. Customers who purchased Venue Pro smartphones on Monday or Tuesday (November 8 or 9) at a Microsoft Store and who are experiencing the protected Wi-Fi network connectivity issue also have the option of bringing your phone back to the Microsoft Store for an exchange, beginning at the end of next week. Your new phone will fix the Wi-Fi issue as well.
Dell’s claim that the issue was neither hardware or software related is rather odd, but the important news is the solution. According to Dell, affected phones were all sold by Microsoft Store locations. Users experiencing the bug should return their devices to a Microsoft Store location beginning “at the end of next week,” at which time working replacement units will be available. More →
Chatter on the forums suggests that the latest update hitting the DROID X has not fixed the WiFi connectivity problem many users were reporting. Affected DROID X owners report that their handsets have difficulty connecting to a WiFi router and poor network performance once a connection has been established. Several users report that changing the encryption from AES to TKIP has alleviated the problem, while others note that changing your router to 802.11g instead of 802.11n has decreased the number of network disconnects. Anyone with a DROID X currently experiencing this problem?
Thanks, Goreja! More →
Yesterday, Nokia released a statement about antenna design in response to being called out by name in Apple’s iPhone 4 antenna press conference. Early this morning, RIM followed suit. In a statement signed by co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, RIM gave Apple a quick and concise corporate tongue lashing:
Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation. RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage. One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.
That ladies and gentlemen is how not to mince words. It is only fair. If you want to pitch, you have to catch. Right Apple?
A voluminous thread on Apple’s support forums seems to suggest that a growing number of iPhone 4 users are experiencing problems with 3G connectivity. According to the reports, folks with an iPhone 4 are experiencing slow or even non-existent 3G connectivity in areas where 3G signal is present. The problem is not solely due to AT&T as a side-by-side comparison with an iPhone 3G or 3GS reveals that the iPhone 3G/3GS has a solid 3G connection while the iPhone 4 is on EDGE or is crawling along at less than 30 kbps on a supposed 3G connection. For some folks, the issue is intermittent with periods of good connectivity followed by periods of poor connectivity. If anyone else notices this unusual phenomenon, give us a shout in the comments with your experiences.
Thanks, Matt, Chris, and Rob!
Update: One of our readers sent us in the screenshots above and another alerted us to a YouTube video showing the lackluster and inconsistent data performance with 3G coverage. Hit the jump to check it out. More →
A frustrated Nexus One owner posted a very interesting, and very troubling, YouTube video demonstrating how he can “force” his Nexus One to lose 3G connectivity. By placing his hand over the lower half of the phone, as if he were making a phone call, the user can, seemingly at will, cause the phone to switch from 3G to EDGE. If memory serves us correctly the original iPhone had a similar issue involving your hand at the bottom of the phone; it was later determined that the iPhone’s issue was the physical placement of the antenna, not a software issue. Let’s hope that there is some firmware jujitsu that Google can exploit to get the N1’s HSPA working as expected and soon. Anyone else able to get their Nexus One to do this “trick?”
We’ve been hearing grumblings on the intertubes about the newly minted Nexus One having 3G connectivity problems with T-Mobile’s network. Users have been reporting that the Nexus is constantly bouncing between 3G and EDGE, even in a 3G saturated area, or, in some of the more severe cases, not connecting to the 3G network even when it is available. A moderator on T-Mobile’s forums states, “Google and T-Mobile are investigating this issue and hope to have more information for you soon. We understand your concern and appreciate your patience.” Let’s hope this is a minor coding snafu and can be resolved quickly by a software patch. Any early adopters of the “Sexy Nexy” seeing 3G issues?
As anyone following at attendee or two of South by Southwest 2009 on Twitter can attest to, AT&T’s network down in Austin Texas is completely hosed. The tweets speak for themselves; Dropped call number 833, AT&T’s data network is down again, ^*%)*&%^)% AT&T!, and so on. Apparently the complaints aren’t isolated to Twitter as AT&T has responded publicly to the situation and stated that it intends to address its troubled network by upping capacity immediately. In fact, it expects the improvements to be felt already today:
To accommodate unprecedented demand for mobile data and voice applications at SXSW, we are actively working this afternoon to add capacity to our cell sites serving downtown Austin. These efforts are ongoing, but we anticipate that customers should see improved network performance this evening and for the remainder of the event. We will continue to monitor network performance throughout the event, and will do everything possible to maximize network performance throughout. We apologize to customers who were inconvenienced during this surge in local network demand.
Wow. If it’s that easy, AT&T, how about doing something about the disaster your 3G/3.5G network in the New York Metro area has become?
Somewhere over the rainbow in a land far away, wireless phones will actually be wireless. We’re not just talking about cellular voice and data here of course, we’re talking about handsets that can communicate, move data, sync and be charged all without the need for a single external wired connection. We still have a ways to go before technologies such as inductive charging and higher-speed data transfer standards are a commonplace, but Samsung has just announced a major step towards that reality with the advent of Wireless USB. By way of new System-on-a-Chip (SoC) technology, Samsung claims W-USB will allow portable devices such as mobile handsets and digital cameras to connect wirelessly using an interface that is nearly identical to a wired USB connection. Dr. Yiwan Wong, vice president, System LSI Division at Samsung is heading up the group responsible for the breakthrough and had this to say:
Connected consumer electronic products are the next step in enabling anytime, anywhere access to information and services. One of the keys to wireless connectivity is W-USB technology. While W-USB technology is just beginning to ramp up, its application will soon increase with the consumer electronic and mobile phone markets’ demand for wireless connectivity technology and UWB’s fast download speeds.
The SoC itself is comprised of a built-in ARM core, a UWB physical layer, a memory controller and a memory component. It operates in the 3.1~10.6 GHz-band range and as far as numbers go, we’re looking at speeds of 480 Mbps. Real world tests have shown actual transfer speeds of 120 Mbps which is hardly a rate to be scoffed at and security hounds will be happy to know Samsung employs 128 bit AES encryption to thwart prowlers. Long story short, W-USB can’t happen soon enough.