08/01/2010

MagicJack jacks into GSM femtocell

MagicJack (owned by YMax) say they have made a femtocell that plugs into a PC and then offers VoIP connectivity through the MagicJack network. They already manufacture a system for regular phone lines that does the same thing for fixed lines costing $40 for the MagicJack unit and $20 pa. The system is being demonstrated at CES in the US.

The femtocell detects the cell phone, connects to it and then the user enters a code to authenticate the connection. It then uses the connected PC to connect to the VoIP service.

MagicJack state this is legal as the mobile operators license doesn't extend into the home, which implies it's US only.

In the UK (and most of Europe) a license is required to transmit or receive radio signals and the MagicJack femtocell would certainly be illegal in the UK.

06/01/2010

Google Nexus One hits the streets

Google's new Android phone (the one everyone has been speculating about for weeks) was officially launched yesterday as the Nexus One (see end-note).

The phone is made by HTC and features a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running at 1GHz (Apple's ARM CPU runs at 500MHz and many others at around 600MHz) so it should be snappy. It also has accelerated 3D graphics, a 5MP autofocus camera, a 3.7 inch widescreen WVGA AMOLED display supporting 800 x 480 pixels with a 100,000:1 contrast ratio and 1ms response (in other words Google haven't skimped on the display), it also has haptic feedback. It of course has AGPS, a digital compass and an accelerometer.

It's 3G and 2G supporting: -
UMTS Band 1/4/8 (2100/AWS/900)
HSDPA 7.2Mbps
HSUPA 2Mbps
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n)
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
A2DP stereo Bluetooth

Which means it should work in most countries. Google have also opted for 802.11n which is the new high speed WiFi standard, but aren't supporting 802.11a.

Android 2.1 is the base OS (known as Eclair) which is meant to be considerably speedier than earlier releases and takes advantage of the 3D capabilities with a new 3D framework.

The phone is available now from Google for anyone with a Google Checkout account, it costs $530 unlocked (to several countries) or $170 with a T-Mobile contract (only in the US), Vodafone will launch the phone in Europe in the next few months.

End-Note: There's a twist here, Google doesn't own the name/domain Nexus One in several places and it's a reference to the Androids (or replicants) in Blade Runner, Nexus One being the first models while the ones Decker has to terminate are Nexus-6 - so one can presume that are at least 5 more models to come (Rachel/Deckard are either advanced Nexus-6 or Nexus-7). More is that the estate of Philip K Dick are looking at suing Google as they didn't ask permission to use the name, however that may be hot air as Mr Dick didn't trademark the Nexus name and there are already several companies out there using Nexus names).