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AT&T has announced today that the first device capable of working on its 4G LTE/HSPA+ wireless network will not be a smartphone or tablet, but rather a mobile hotspot that can connect your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to the carrier’s faster 4G network soon to deployed sometime later this summer in select cities.
A mobile hotspot, for those that don’t know, is a device that creates a Wi-Fi network that you can then connect other devices, just like your wireless network at home or in the office. Unlike your router, however, a hotspot delivers data access just like your smartphone does, over the carrier’s cellular data network. The big difference between older, 3G hotspots and the new Elevate 4G device will be speed. 4G data transfer rates are considerably faster than 3G speeds. Exactly how fast? Well, we’ll have to wait to get a device in our hands to find out.
The AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G needs so software to get all your mobile devices up and running on 4G. The handy LCD screen on the front will walk any user through setup. Have multiple devices that need that stupid-fast connection? Up to five users or devices can connect to the Elevate 4G over Wi-Fi.
Finally, if you’re an international jet-setter, the Elevate 4G lets you stay connected even when traveling the globe…just be ready to fork over for those international roaming charges.
There is no official word on when AT&T will roll out smartphones capable of handling the new 4G network (my safe guess would be the next generation of the iPhone), but if you are an AT&T fan looking for even more speed (and possibly more reliability), then you can get a 4G capable device in your hands soon. Head on over to AT&T’s site to sign up to get a notification when the Elevate 4G becomes available.
Given the success of Apple’s iPad, we all knew that competition was inevitable. Now, the floodgates are starting to open.
Research in Motion Ltd., maker of the business-popular BlackBerry, says that its PlayBook tablet will be available for purchase in North America in the first quarter of next year. The new tablet will sport a price tag under $500, which makes it serious price competitor to the iPad (the least expensive new iPad currently costs $499).
The PlayBook’s 7-inch screen is smaller than the iPad’s screen, but is the same size as the new Android-powered Galaxy from Samsung. In addition to its more hand-friendly size, the PlayBook has some features that the iPad lacks. The most notable feature difference is the ability to pair the device with a BlackBerry handset; after pairing the two devices, the phone’s content can be seen on the tablet’s larger screen.
The PlayBook features two cameras, placed similarly to the iPhone 4’s cameras. The one that faces the user can also be used for video chatting, similar to Apple’s Facetime feature. PlayBook also has a HDMI port, which allows video streaming from the device to a high-definition television. Finally, the tablet has built in flash support, a feature notably absent from iPad.
RIM did not design the PlayBook as an “iPad clone”. Rather, they plan to market the device to large businesses, particularly those in which the IT staff controls buying for large groups of employees . Although we all know that iPad can be useful for business, it has been marketed as a consumer device, leaving RIM a niche to fill in the business world.
RIM has announced that they plan to eventually release 3G versions of the PlayBook. However, they have not yet announced agreements with any phone carriers, nor have they given a time frame for this release.
Sure, we all love our iPads for business stuff- there are some great productivity apps like My Eyes Only, FTP on the Go, and Evernote. If you’re like me, though, you like to mix a little fun in with your work gadgets. And, what’s more fun than Halloween?
For seasonal kicks, there are some cool pumpkin apps like Crazy Pumpkin Lite, an all-in-one digital Jack-o-lantern, scary sound effect machine and a multi-colored flashlight. There’s also Jack O’Lantern, a fun and free pumpkin carving app.
Don’t want to lug that security-grade Mag-Lite around while your kids beg for candy? Illumination is an app that can turn your mobile device into a surprisingly effective flashlight. To kick it up a notch, try the Space Invaders Flashlight which is the same basic idea but tailor-made for classic video games enthusiasts.
No costume yet for the office party? Grab the Halloween Costume Generator, and find some inspiration. If that doesn’t have what you were looking for, try Movie Costume, which lets you mix your own photos with shots from favorite films for some really fun effects (tip:this app is fun even when it’s not Halloween).
Finally, if you have kids you know that Halloween isn’t always just fun and games. Get some peace of mind (or, possibly, freak yourself out completely) with SOS (Sex Offenders Search). This application lets your iPad locate registered sex offenders and sexual predators in your neighborhood and around schools, friends, parks, campgrounds or whatever areas you might check in order to make your candy gathering route a safer one.
Have a fun and safe Halloween!
As previously rumored, Cisco has now announced its new telepresence product, called “Umi”. Although it has great specs and some interesting features, the price point seems a bit high when compared to other new options on the market.
Umi has high definition output and its 1080p HD camera boasts the latest bells and whistles. Videos made with Umi can be shared on Facebook, YouTube and through e-mail. However, these features come with a hefty price tag- $600 for the hardware and a $25 per-month or $275 annual service plan, which makes it slightly more costly than our initial speculations.
In other tech news, Google has announced their intent to move into your other home screen with the debut of Google TV. Partnered with this was Logitech’s announcement of their Revue device, which will be a complete media box (including Google TV capability). The set top box retails for only $300, and DISH Network customers can get the Revue at a discounted $180.
Logitech will sell an optional camera for $150 that enables HD video calls and has similar features to Cisco’s Umi. Logitech’s camera can be hooked into the Revue (or any Google TV device) to enable a full telepresence suite for your home system.
So for $450 (or $330 if you have DISH Network) and with no monthly cost, it’s possible to get HD telepresence, GoogleTV, and a lot of really cool entertainment features for your home media setup- a no-brainer, really.
Logitech will also launch Revue with several apps:
Vid HD for video calls
Netflix to watch streaming movies (unlimited membership required)
Pandora and Napster to stream personal music stations/libraries
Twitter to post or read tweets while watching TV
CNBC app designed specifically to show real-time stock information and customized watch lists, as well as “exclusive” video content
Logitech Media to browse photos, music, and video from a computer networked to the device
Logitech Alert Camera Viewer to see your security cameras on TV
The Revue includes the follow ports:
Logitech unifying technology to connect up to 6 Logitech accessories
HDMI in and out ports
Two IR blasters
Two USB inputs
SPDIF to connect digital optical cable.
Using Revue will require an HDTV with HDMI, Ethernet or WiFi, and a Cable or Satellite set top box with HDMI out.
As companies scale, they open offices in multiple locations and hire sales staff in various regions. This has caused many an office worker to dread the Monday morning “all-hands” meeting- that complicated dance of getting everyone in on a conference call for the apparent purpose of shouting at a phone from across the room. After enduring this a few times, it become obvious that solid, simple telepresence is vital to a growing business.
Currently telepresence means a conference call, or the somewhat-better option of using Skype on your computer. However, Cisco has recently made a game-changing announcement that it will partner with major cable and internet providers to offer a new product : Consumer or Home TelePresence.
With it, per Cisco, people can interact with distant coworkers, partners, customers, or family back home by standing in front of a television set. The biggest improvement of Consumer of Home Telepresence over current technology is that it uses the existing high-def capabilities of a home television set and applies it to video conferencing. Cisco will use this selling point to contrast itself against competitors like video-calling giant Skype. This type of technology will also probably be available in business-focused hotels in the next few years.
The lowest, but most heavily subsidized, cost for a small unit could be as low as $200. It would also be possible to offer it at $500 with fewer contractual obligations or lower monthly costs.
Cisco already has a big telepresence business aimed at the corporate meeting market. A drawback of their previous technology is that its deployment can be complex and requires expensive installation of large pieces of equipment. This new personal product is simple, smaller, less complex, and would be perfect for smaller businesses and people that work from a home office.
From Cisco’s Web site:
With Cisco TelePresence:
Scheduling is easy–no IT support required
Launching a meeting is as simple as making a phone call
In-room controls are intuitive–collaboration applications are plug and play
Participants can meet in many rooms at once-up to 48 locations in one meeting
Users can easily bring in collaboration applications like Cisco WebEx Meeting Center
Existing SD or HD videoconferencing systems can be easily integrated
BoomTown reported that Cisco will be holding a press event next Wednesday morning in San Francisco. The invite reads: “Come see a new Cisco consumer experience at an exclusive media event, hosted by Chairman and CEO John Chambers.”
This press event is a continuation of Cisco’s push into the consumer space, offering a variety of products.
Glad to see RIM (Research In Motion) the makers of the Blackberry releasing a new phone. It’s titled the Torch 9800 available on Aug. 12th on AT&T for $199.00 w/2 yr contract! I have always been a fan of the Blackberry form-factor and it’s hyper-focus on the business user! My business partner Nicole, is a loyal BBerry user no-matter-what. She calls it her “workhorse”. I know plenty of Bberry users that will be excited about the new changes since the Torch 9800 is the 1st Blackberry with a slide out keyboard, touch-screen (not the clicky screen from before) and the new operating system OS6 which brings the Torch a new interface, better multimedia use with dedicated apps like YouTube app and a Podcasts app. Most of all it has a new browser!!! It features tabs for accessing multiple sites simultaneously, double-tap to zoom and pinch to zoom. Another big plus for Bberry people is the Universal search–allows you to to search through email, messages, contacts, music, videos as well as extend search to the Internet or to discover applications on BlackBerry App World.
Check the video to see it in action: (WILL YOU GET THIS PHONE ?- tell me in the comments)
Additional BlackBerry Torch Smartphone Features
- Approx. 4.4″ (5.8″ open) x 2.4″ x .57″ and weighing 5.68 ounces
- 3.2″ 360×480 capacitive touch screen display
- 35 key full QWERTY backlit slide-out keyboard, designed to feel optimally balanced when opened for typing
- Optical trackpad, 624 Mhz processor with 512 MB Flash memory
- 4 GB built-in memory storage plus a microSD/SDHD memory card slot that supports up to 32 GB cards; a 4 GB card is included giving users 8 GB of storage out-of-the-box
- 5 MP camera with flash, continuous auto focus, image stabilization, scene modes, geo-tagging and zoom, as well as video recording at up to 640×480 resolution
- Built-in GPS for location-based applications and geo-tagging & Wi-Fi® (802.11 b/g/n)
Allow me to paint a picture. You’ve got a hot product (at least you think it’s hot) that you want to sell at your local festival, expo, or event. You know you’re going to get those “I only carry plastic with me” folks that want your product, but are not willing to go hunt down an ATM and pay a ba-jillion dollars in ATM fees. Now you’ve just started and may not have the credit history to be extended a merchant account (or have no clue what a merchant account is) and you don’t have the funds to buy a credit card machine. Let’s be honest, you really don’t want to bother with messing around with the receipt paper that ALWAYS gets stuck in those machines either!
Enter Square, a mobile credit card system that allows users to accept credit card payments anywhere without a merchant account using your mobile device. Imagine how smooth a transaction would go if you could just whip out your mobile device, and swipe your customer’s credit card and email them a receipt? With Square you can do just that.
Whether it’s an iPhone, iPod Touch iPad, or Android mobile device (sorry BlackBerry folks), you can use Square’s mobile card reader that’s about the size of a tic-tac container that plugs into your device’s headphone port and allows you to accept credit cards as payments.
You don’t need the reader or merchant account to accept credit card payments, simply download the app from your smart phone’s respective app store, link a bank account and you’re set. It would behoove you to go ahead and apply for the reader, because the fees associated with swiping a card versus manual input are cheaper, I mean, more monetarily advantageous.
Speaking of fees, although you don’t need a merchant account, there are no setup fees, fees for the mobile reader, monthly charges, or contract required (crazy right?). All Square asks of you is a 2.75% + 15 cents per swiped charge and 3.5% + 15 cents per manual card input per transaction. Which, I might add, is lower than most merchant account fees per transaction
Again, imagine how smooth your credit card transactions would go, and how cool you would look doing them if you were using Square.
For more information, and how to get signed up, visit squareup.com Or watch the video below:
I love Gazelle.com! The idea is that you can recycle your old gadgets for money. Here’s a vid on how it works. I think the greatest thing about Gazelle is offering you the ability to create an easy and free fundraising website for your fav non-profit, church maybe your school or rec league etc…
As many of you may be inundated and overwhelmed with current iPhone 3G coverage, I promise not to bore you with more of the same. Instead of wondering if you should buy the new 3G iPhone I’d much rather focus on the “purple cow” in the room that many people aren’t discussing. That being the Apple SDK, for the non-techies the Software Development Kit. Did you know that Apple is offering a revenue share agreement for developers where you earn 70¢ on the dollar? Yes you heard right! If your app were selling for $10.00 you would take home $7.00 per sale! That is a major revenue share opportunity that probably won’t last for long. Which is why I want you to focus on making apps for this gadget. As I read the news from the Apple site you can tell that CEO Steve Jobs is clearly excited after realizing in 3 days (this past Sunday) Apple sold its one millionth iPhone. Steve said: “the iPhone 3G had a stunning opening weekend. It took 74 days to sell the first one million original iPhones, so the new iPhone 3G is clearly off to a great start around the world.”
Now that’s impressive, but what’s more impressive is that more than 10 million downloads for the iPhone App store took place over a single weekend. This is huge; phones are only as good as the functionality they can deliver. While everyone else is crying about no video, no flash, and no photo messaging you need to be crying about all the money that iPhone app developers stand to make. I certainly don’t want to overstate the opportunity most apps are free, but a few that are bringing real value to customers are selling between $5-$10 per app. No one really knows how long this revenue share opportunity will last but you can be sure that as soon as the iPhone apps store is booming with thousands of apps Apple may decide at any time to reduce the amount of share it will give to developers. My concern is that I want to make sure more of US are at the iPhone developer cash register. Stop wasting your time on being a consumer and be a creator, we need more app developers of color to band together and create apps for our global community. Many of you already work in software development so there is no excuse. I received my approval not to long ago, get yours and let’s get paid! Start by downloading the FREE SDK and then join the iPhone Web dev group.
Bottom line: I totally recommend buying the new 3G iPhone. It pains me to know that I paid over $500 and waited in line for 24 hours in the rain, you can view my iPhone gen 1 tech-tailgating video to see how serious I was. But don’t buy the Phone just because it is better and cheaper than the original but because it’s an investment for you to monetize.
So if you have an idea to take over the world or maybe a simple idea for a biz program or a hot music application– think big and think iPhone demographic – now go make it happen and get you share of the loot$. What apps do you think we should be creating? If you aren’t a developer share your thoughts so developers can get rolling!
Watch Mario today (Sunday May 25th) sometime between 4pm-4:30pm EST on CNN Live – discussing the new Wii Fit game by Nintendo.
After the segment join me in my ustream chatroom OR below to discuss more and answer more of your questions about the Wii Fit.