Cingular Speeds Up
Cingular Claims 3G First: No. 1 U.S. mobile carrier Cingular Wireless says that it is the first operator in the U.S. to ship a wireless PDA that runs over a 3G HSDPA/UMTS network.
The $400 Windows Mobile-based 8525 PDA was built for Cingular by High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) -- the source of the majority of carrier-branded smartphones offered by U.S. operators today. The 8525 will be available on November 15.
The PDA runs Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s direct push email update and supports Bluetooth, EDGE, and WiFi connectivity as well as the 3G update. The device has a QWERTY keyboard, a 2 megapixel camera, and an expansion slot for a mini memory card.
Cingular currently offers UMTS/HSDPA service in over 100 metropolitan markets in the U.S. Download speeds offered on the new network range from 400 to 700 Kbit/s.
Finding Third Parties: Wireless startup Newbury Networks has unveiled a new location appliance that it says will work with any of the big boys' enterprise WiFi infrastruture -- from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) kit to 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) boxes and much more.
One of Newbury's direct competitors in this market just happens to be Cisco with its 2700 and 2710 location appliances. Unsurprisingly, Newbury's CEO Michael Maggio says that his company's advantage over his more generalist competitor is accuracy.
"We can get 3 meters accuracy 95 percent of the time," claims Maggio.
Talk 'Til You Drop: Meanwhile, across the pond, even supermarkets in the U.K. are getting in on the fixed/mobile convergence game. Mega-chain Tescos now offers customers the tovo t450 PocketFone, which can be used as a regular GSM cellphone or make calls over a user's WiFi connection at home.
Tesco claims that the $300 phone can save customers 30 percent on their cell phone bills because of free calls at home and no roaming charges. Presumably leaving shoppers with more money to buy Tesco's own-brand baked beans.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung