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Wilocity uncloaks 4.6Gb/sec Wi-Fi for next year's smartphones

MWC 2014 Wilocity, pioneers of high-speed "WiGig" 60GHz Wi-Fi, has used the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as the debutant ball for its 4.6Gb/sec chip for smartphones, formerly codenamed "Sparrow" and now formally dubbed Wil6300. "The huge performance boost offered by 802.11ad, operating in the 60GHz band, combined with massive …
Rik Myslewski, 25 Feb 2014

What's up with that WhatsApp $19bn price tag? Answer: Voice calls

Multibillion-dollar chat app WhatsApp will let users make voice calls, it was announced today. Its makers said that in the second quarter of 2014 it would begin rolling out support for voice comms for iOS and Android devices with Windows Phone and BlackBerry support planned for a later date. Announcing the new service at a …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Feb 2014

1bn down, 6bn to go: Zuck to grow Facebook by touting 'free internet onramp' for the poor

MWC 2014 Mark Zuckerberg has used his keynote address at this year's Mobile World Congress to expound on his rough plan to expand basic internet services to all humanity as a human right, and then sell them something on the back of them. He told the Barcelona audience that Internet.org – a partnership between Facebook and mobile …
Iain Thomson, 24 Feb 2014

NBN Co tells iiNet: Use Broadcom chips in VDSL routers

iiNet, Australia's third-largest internet service provider in terms of subscriber numbers, has been told by NBNCo that it should consider only Broadcom chipsets for its future VDSL modems. Simon Watt, head of iiNet's labs, told The Register the advice was not prescriptive, but given the lead time required to develop customer …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Feb 2014
A cow

Stuff the delays! PM chuffed to have BT's superfast broadband in his constituency

Prime Minister David Cameron already enjoys super speedy internet connections at his constituency home in Dean, Oxfordshire, but locals in the village of Alvescot – saddled with a very slow broadband service – have waited a long time for an upgrade. On Friday, BT invited the PM to make doe eyes at one of the telecom giant's …
Kelly Fiveash, 24 Feb 2014
Global Wireless solutions coverage testing backpack

Mobe operators, need to check your network? There’s an app for that

MWC 2014 US mobile network checking company Global Wireless Solutions says there is a gap between its traditional way of testing mobile coverage using vans driving around with $300k of testing kit in the back and crowd-sourced reports on quality of mobile network coverage. The problem with using vans to check networks goes beyond cost. …
Simon Rockman, 24 Feb 2014

Nokia launches Android range: X marks the growing low-cost spot

MWC 2014 Three years after it announced a switch to Windows Phone, Nokia launched a family of Android-based phones today at Mobile World Congress 2014. Nokia's new X family of mobes... The first three devices revealed today at Mobile World Congress adopt the same strategy Amazon has with Android: use the open-source base and develop …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Feb 2014

Google's 1Gbps fiber 'not driving' Time Warner Cable's sudden Austin speed increase

Time Warner Cable (TWC) is to upgrade its network in Austin, Texas over the summer to allow internet speeds of up to 300Mbps, but says this has nothing to do with Google's decision to make the city its third installation of 1Gbps fiber. "It's not driving it, it's more about customer demand," a company spokeswoman told The …
Iain Thomson, 21 Feb 2014
Fixed broadband quality by service area

Turnbull waters down broadband black spot fix promise

Pre-election promises to prioritise broadband black spots appear to have gone onto the back burner after the release of the Broadband Availability and Quality Report (BAQR) (PDF) by Australia's Federal Department of Communications. The report was commissioned by Minister Malcolm Turnbull as one of several studies into the …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Feb 2014
BlackBerry logo

T-Mobile US makes peace offering with $250 BlackBerry olive branch

In a move to calm outraged BlackBerry fanbois after suggesting they should get an iPhone, T-Mobile US is offering them $200 towards any newer handset available, be it a BlackBerry, Android gadget or iPhone. The limited-time offer is open to subscribers and anyone who signs up to the wireless carrier. Folks already on T-Mob US …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Feb 2014
FCC logo

FCC will have to drop a bombshell to solve net-neutrality conundrum

Analysis The Federal Communications Commission chairman's decision to draft new rules ensuring net neutrality principles are applied to internet traffic hasn't impressed many, and it's becoming clear that his agency will have to make an all-or-nothing decision on the issue. The January appeal court decision in Verizon v FCC gutted the …
Iain Thomson, 20 Feb 2014
Google Fiber

Google teases more cities with bonkers-fast fiber broadband rollouts

Google has named nine areas in the US that could be added to its high-speed fiber internet connection service. The ad giant said that the new markets will be considered for broadband rollouts this year, with final decisions to be taken at the end of 2014. The nine candidates include the cities of Charlotte, NC; Nashville, TN; …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Feb 2014
FCC logo

FCC chairman vows to rewrite net rules – with Prez Obama's blessing

The chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has pledged to come up with new rules to enforce network neutrality – after a court derailed his agency's previously issued orders. Tom Wheeler hopes his freshly proposed regulations will prevent internet providers from unfairly throttling traffic based on …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Feb 2014

Chinese regulators probe Qualcomm over 'unfair pricing' claims

China's antitrust regulator has accused chipmaker Qualcomm of abusing its market dominance and overcharging customers, charges that could see the firm hit with record fines of millions of dollars. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said that it started an investigation into the company last year after …
The ITMugs Surf for Porn mug

Fandroids get their very own PERVY SMUT browser

SFW Are you a pr0n-loving Fandroid who's sick of having to toggle the privacy button every time you view a grumble flick? There's help, er, at hand, apparently, with the release of the world's first ever smut-focused web browser. A developer called Steven Goh has designed a new mobile web browser which is unsubtly called Jerky, a …
SA Mathieson, 19 Feb 2014
Angry woman on mobile

Steelie Neelie 'shocked' that EU tourists turn mobes off when abroad

Nearly half of European tourists say they would never use mobile internet in another EU country and over a quarter turn off their mobiles altogether over fears of monstrous phone bills when they get home. The European Commission, which is trying to get roaming charges abolished, surveyed 28,000 EU citizens and reckon that …
Smartphone user on Tube

Opera launches public beta of data-saving app

Norwegian browser-maker Opera Software has announced a limited public beta of Opera Max – a new app designed to let users get more out of limited data plans. Opera has offered "off-road mode" in its browser for a while now, with the feature promising to reduce the amount of data consumed by the application. Last year turned that …
Phil Muncaster, 19 Feb 2014
Fight Night Champion

FIGHT! BlackBerry,T-Mobile US CEOs clash in 'inappropriate' ad spat

Wireless carrier T-Mobile US would like to see its BlackBerry customers switch over to Apple's camp – and die-hard BlackBerry users are none too happy about it, to say nothing of BlackBerry CEO John Chen. The brouhaha began last week, when T-Mobile US reportedly sent emails to some of its customers offering them financing on new …
Neil McAllister, 19 Feb 2014
The existing, human crewed Caterpillar 797B

Ericsson and Kodiak in Europe WALKIE-TALKIE-style push-to-talk push

Push-to-talk company Kodiak has struck a deal with Ericsson to sell the systems it is currently touting to the US market through American firm Cspire to European telcos. The pair are aiming to sell these services to both real mobile network operators and virtual ones. The technology emulates an old-fashioned walkie-talkie using …
Simon Rockman, 18 Feb 2014
Google Chocolate Factory

Google's paid link settlement plan will lead to fresh wave of abuses, claims Euro rival

Analysis England football managers, who have dynamite news to expose, sometimes wait until late on a Friday afternoon to release juicy details to the press before speeding away from any supposed scandal in their 4x4s. Google attempted a similar PR stunt late last week when it surprised complainants in the European Commission's lengthy …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Feb 2014
First Data's Claover an Android based point of sale terminal

First Data hoiks out custom Android point-of-sale fondleslab

Around half US online transaction revenue goes through payments firm First Data’s systems. They have such a large volume of transaction information they are used as an economic barometer by the US government. In Europe they have 660,000 point-of-sale terminals, and nearly ten times that across the world. $58bn went through their …
Simon Rockman, 18 Feb 2014
Vulture South NBN Logo

Tasmanian Liberals fear NBN policy will kill their election hopes

Updated Four weeks out from an election in the Australian state of Tasmania, the leader of the opposition Liberal party leader Will Hodgman has staged a “gaffe” by telling a colleague the issue of the National Broadband Network (NBN) could cost his party the election in front of TV cameras. While getting ready for a press conference …

London calling: Date set for launch of capital's very own domain name

You'll never Adam and Eve how many people are apparently set to buy a new .london domain name. According to a YouGov survey, more than 200,000 small businesses are preparing to pin their web address to the capital when the new domain launches on 29 April. The date of the launch was finalised today, prompting a flurry of quotes …
Jasper Hamill, 17 Feb 2014
Dunce

Free space optics gets shiny new snake-oil paint job

A technology more than 15 years old is getting a brand-new publicity brush-up because it's been discovered by the high-frequency trading community. Free space optics is older than The Register, even: it's been around so long that in the mid-1990s, it was even exciting in Australia, where a company called Davnet was founded to …

NBN to be built even if cost-benefit analysis shows no ROI

In opposition, the current parliamentary secretary for communications Paul Fletcher and his boss, minister for communications Malcolm Turnbull, made much of the fact Australia's national broadband network (NBN) had been commenced without a cost-benefit study that would show whether or not the network will deliver positive return …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Feb 2014
Google Fiber

Google promises 10Gps fiber network to blast 4K into living rooms

Google Fiber is the fastest broadband internet provider in the US, but according to the Chocolate Factory's CFO Patrick Pichette, its 1Gbps connection speeds are going to increase ten-fold. Pichette told the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference that the firm is actively developing the equipment to pump 10Gbps of data …
Iain Thomson, 14 Feb 2014
Viber logo

Play.com tech titan snaps up 'VoIP-tastic WhatsApp' firm Viber

Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten will slurp messaging app Viber for $900m in cash as it continues its plans for world domination. The firm behind Play.com offers services from shopping to online video and is now adding messaging and VoIP to its repertoire courtesy of Viber, which is run from Cyprus by Israeli entrepreneur Talmon …

Virgin Media sales flat: Firm bags fewer winter sign-ups than last year

Virgin Media watched subscriptions to its broadband service plummet during its final quarter, compared with the same three-month period a year earlier. The telco, which is owned by US cable giant Liberty Global, crumbled up against strong competition from rivals BT and BSkyB. It pulled in just over 39,000 broadband customers in …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Feb 2014

Facebook adds 50+ gender options: Stalking your 'Friends' just got more LGBT-friendly

Facebook has introduced more than 50 gender options its users can select when choosing how they wish to identify themselves. The Social Network revealed the new feature to The Associated Press, where a story features Brielle Harrison, a Facebook staffer who is "undergoing gender transformation, from male to female". It's also …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Feb 2014

Verizon jumps into wireless discount punch-fest with 'More Everything'

Verizon Wireless has become the latest US telco to roll out an aggressive price-cutting campaign for its subscribers. The company said that its "More Everything" service plan will expand data limits on several existing plans while also adding unlimited messaging, online storage, and multiple-device support. Designed to be a …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Feb 2014

Comcast to acquire Warner Cable – reports

The US broadband market looks set for a shake-up, with multiple reports tipping Comcast to acquire rival Warner Cable. CNBC claims it broke the story and The Wall Street Journal has since published a (paywalled) story reporting the same details: it's a $US45bn all-stock deal. Comcast and Warner are respectively the USA's number …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Feb 2014

Scotland to test mobe signals slammer jammer

A pilot scheme to test mobile phone signal blocking technology in Scottish prisons will go live in two jails in the next few weeks, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced. MacAskill was visiting HMP Shotts, one of the prisons chosen for the pilot, to see the technology beings installed and said that the scheme was due to …
USB Stress Panic Button

So cool it 2.4 gigahertz: BATTERY-FREE comms for international band

Embedded wireless solutions company EnOcean is planning to show the first self-powered transmitter to work at 2.4GHz. The radio isn't passive, the power to run the radio is generated through motion, light or temperature changes. Specifically this takes the form of an electromechanical converter which is as easy to press as a …
Simon Rockman, 12 Feb 2014

Ono board mulls Vodafone's offer to grab its pipe for £5.8bn

The board of Spain's biggest cable operator Ono will meet today to decide if it should accept a £6bn (€7bn) bid from Vodafone or push ahead with its plans for an IPO. The sale would see a reasonable return on investment for the four venture funds Anglo-CCMP, Providence, Thomas H Lee and Quadrangle, which invested in 2005. …
Simon Rockman, 11 Feb 2014
Thibaut_Kleiner

EU network tech boss: Europe to take the lead on 5G (thanks, Huawei)

At the 5G@Europe Summit on Monday, Brussels networking czar Thibaut Kleiner said that Europe will "lead" the way with 5G, and that this will mean growth in the IT sector and the economy at large. The Munich event was heavily sponsored by Huawei and while panel members included representatives from French telecom and networking …
Simon Rockman, 11 Feb 2014
iTunes 10: iTunes Music Store

iTunes radio tunes in to Australia for first launch beyond USA

Apple has activated its iTunes radio service outside the USA for the first time, with Australia the lucky nation chosen to receive Cupertino's competitor to Spotify, Pandora and rdio. iTunes radio launched in September 2013 and is free to all users of iTunes and iOS-powered devices. Like other streaming music services, iTunes …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Feb 2014

Netflix speed index shows further decline in Verizon quality

Verizon insists it "treats all traffic equally" but new data from Netflix indicates that the network provider's customers have seen a degradation in service quality in the past months. The streaming video company released its monthly ISP speed index for January on Monday, and the results show another significant decline in …
Jack Clark, 10 Feb 2014
Microsoft Clippy

Qipp debuts 'Clippy for your STUFF' app

It looks like it's time to oil your bike chain. Would you like to 1) check warranty instructions 2) just oil it already and/or 3) check if the kids' bikes need attention? A new mobile app called Qipp aims to help you organise your life by putting all of your possessions into a database. You enter details of your things such as …
Simon Rockman, 10 Feb 2014
Vodafone on Piccadilly

Vodafone's Euro revenues slump by nearly TEN PER CENT

Vodafone's latest results make grim reading for the company's investors, with revenues in established markets falling and subscribers drifting away despite the firm's 4G investments. The British mobe operator's service revenues fell in Europe by 9.6 per cent and was only partially offset by gains in India and Turkey. The group …

Virgin Media's flaky broadband network turns Bolton off

Virgin Media customers in Bolton have been moaning about the telco's network since late last year, with some subscribers in the area claiming that the firm's techies have ignored the complaints or blamed the connection problems on individual routers. But – for once, perhaps – the SuperHub, which has been cheekily dubbed the …
Kelly Fiveash, 6 Feb 2014

Verizon: Us throttling AWS and Netflix? Not likely

Verizon has strenuously denied claims that it is throttling IP addresses associated with Amazon Web Services. The telco was forced to issue a statement on Wednesday after a blog post gained attention which claimed that Verizon was throttling bandwidth to sites associated with AWS IPs. The blog post in question was published on …
Jack Clark, 5 Feb 2014
Google Toilet Paper

Google will dodge EU MONSTER FINES by 'promoting' rival search services

Complainants in the lengthy EU Google case might characterise the Brussels' antitrust chief's decision to reach a settlement deal with the ad giant as caving in to a company whose dominance in search, they claim, stifles competition in the 28-member state bloc. But, for Joaquin Almunia, the battle is now drawing to a close after …
Kelly Fiveash, 5 Feb 2014