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Tag: LTE

Archos Helium 4G Smartphones at CES

Posted by Andrew at 5:39 PM on January 2, 2014

Archos Helium SmartphoneArchos today entered the 4G and LTE smartphone market with the announcement of its new Helium range of sub-$250 smartphones. French company Archos has a long history with Android tablets and smartphones and the Helium 45 and 50 join the Platinum, Titanium and Oxygen lines. The new phones will run Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out the box with an expected upgrade to 4.4 KitKat. Both phones will have full access to the Google Play store.

Spec-wise, both phones are powered by a 1.4 GHz quad core Qualcomm Cortex A7 processor with 1 GB of RAM. The 45 has a smaller IPS screen at 4.5″ (854 x 480) and only 4GB of internal storage, with the bigger Helium 50 sporting a 5″ 1280 x 720 HD screen and  8 GB. Usefully, there’s a micro SD slot to expand the storage if needed. Other features are as expected in this price range – rear-facing cameras are 5 MP and 8 MP with VGA and 2 MP front-facing cameras on the 45 and 50 respectively. The VGA-spec is a little disappointing.

In terms of 4G and LTE, the radios support 800 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 MHz frequencies with LTE cat 4 150 Mbps / 50 Mbps.

The smartphone has revolutionized the way consumers access information, giving them the ability to instantly view, connect and share ideas regardless of location and time,” says Loïc Poirier, CEO of Archos. “The Archos Helium 4G smartphones will once again change consumers’ mindsets by making the best possible technology affordable.

Overall, the Helium 45 and 50 look like good value entrants into the 4G smartphone market priced at a penny under $250 and $200. If you are interested in knowing more, visit Archos’ complete selection of smartphones, tablets and connected devices on display at CES 2014 in Central Hall Booth 9844.

Apple Excitement? Not So Much.

Posted by tomwiles at 8:41 PM on September 16, 2012

I have a number of Apple products and I’ve been a bit of a fan in the past. Apple products of the past represented genuine value. Not only would the operating system continue to work well on aging hardware, but Apple products used to be repairable.

I’ve had a Sprint HTC Evo 4G for about two and a half years. The original Evo is still a great phone, but it obviously cannot work with Sprint’s new LTE network, so it was time to upgrade.

About a month ago I was seriously considering an iPhone 5. However, the details about the new iPhone 5 screen size began to emerge and I didn’t like what I was hearing – it was only a 4” inch screen. My Evo had a 4.2” inch touch screen, and I didn’t want to go to a smaller screen size – if anything I wanted an even bigger screen.

The original Evo was admittedly a battery hog – I knew that would be the case with it going in. Fortunately, the original Evo has a user-changeable battery. I changed batteries twice in two years. The way I use my phones, I destroy batteries – I MUST be able to easily replace them myself. So besides the smaller 4” inch iPhone 5 screen, it has a sealed battery. (Incidentally, the latest HTC Evo LTE also has a sealed battery, also making it a non-starter for me.)

So, I ended up getting a 16 gigabyte Samsung Galaxy S3 from Sprint. The S3 has a gorgeous AMOLED 4.8” touchscreen along with a user-replaceable battery, which tipped the balance for me in the end. I have the unlimited data “Simply Everything” plan, so I am able to use my phone as my podcast aggregator as well as the playback device. I transferred the 32 gigabyte Micro SD chip from the Evo to the S3 and can even go to a 64 gigabyte chip if the need should arise.

Apple revolved around Steve Jobs and his innovative brilliance. Steve Jobs had some serious personality flaws, but he was able to succeed in spite of those flaws. Now that Steve is gone, I fear that Apple as a company has embraced Jobs’ personality quirks as if they were the source of innovation.

Having high-priced products that cannot easily be repaired for me is a deal-breaker.

By the way, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is an awesome device and I could not be happier with my choice.

UK’s 4G – Common-sense or Cover-up?

Posted by Andrew at 1:18 PM on September 11, 2012

Ofcom LogoThe launch of 4G services in the UK by Everything Everywhere today has been heralded by the majority of the tech blogs and news sites as a long-overdue success. But is this a victory for common-sense or has Ofcom simply managed to cover-up its own incompetence? (For those outside the UK, Ofcom is the regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries.)

Here’s part of article from GNC that I wrote in October of last year.
Ofcom, the UK’s regulator for the telecommunications industry, issued an update on its plans for the auctioning off of the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum bands. These are the frequencies that will be used for the delivery of 4G services.

There has already been one consultation on the auction of the frequencies but based on the responses received, Ofcom has decided to carry out an additional second consultation at the end of 2011 which will run for around 8 weeks. The outcome of the consultation and auction proposals will be published in the summer of 2012, with a delayed frequency auction expected in Q4 2012. More likely Q1 2013, based on their track record.”

So how is it possible that Everything Everywhere, or EE, as it is going to be called, can a launch a 4G service when the frequency auction hasn’t even begun?

The answer is that Orange and T-Mobile, the partners in EE, put a proposal to Ofcom that they should be allowed to use one of their existing frequencies (1800 MHz) to launch 4G services in the UK without waiting for the auction. Ofcom thought this was a brilliant idea and gave the go-ahead. As you can imagine, some of the other players in the UK’s telecoms market (Three, Vodafone, O2) were less than thrilled at Ofcom handing EE a 4G monopoly for at least six months. Imagine how tempting it would be to switch networks if a 4G iPhone 5 was available from EE and only EE.

Depending on your point of view, the launch of 4G in the UK is either a victory for a common-sense approach to available spectrum or else it’s a monumental cover-up over the way Ofcom has failed to manage the transition to 4G.

I’m in the latter camp and I won’t be buying a 4G device or service from EE.

 

GNC-2012-03-08 #748 Apple TV Fail

Posted by geeknews at 5:30 PM on March 8, 2012

What the heck was Apple thinking. The Apple TV update was the weakest hardware update in Apple’s history. Lots of great tech today and luckily I do not dwell on the Apple news.

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GNC-2012-03-05 #747 Early Show

Posted by geeknews at 9:33 PM on March 5, 2012

Very early show today as my schedule allowed it. Lots of fun doing the show in the afternoon versus early evening. Enjoy the march continues to show 750.

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Altair Semiconductor Powers 4G and LTE

Posted by Andrew at 10:43 PM on February 4, 2012

Altair Semiconductor logoThe Altair Semiconductor Company specialises in 4G and LTE wireless chipsets for the mobile telecoms industry. Andy and Courtney chat to the CEO of Altair to find out more more about the transition to the latest wireless standards.

4G, LTE and mobile broadband were all key technologies at CES this year, with products incorporating 4G announced from Motorola, Samsung, Nokia and LG, to name but a few. When compared to the relatively slow penetration of 3G, 4G uptake is happening much faster and it’s even surprising the industry. Verizon is expected to have most of the USA covered by the end of 2012. China and India are not far behind with major deployments.

Tablets and smartphones are driving the market but Altair’s chipsets are included in 4G dongles, MiFi-type units and wireless broadband routers.

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GNC-2011-12-29 #733 Soapbox Time!

Posted by geeknews at 1:18 AM on December 30, 2011

Happy New Year, this is an epic show. For those of you that are long time supporters of the show thank your for your continued and ongoing support. For the Haters well I can’t say what I really want to say.

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GNC-2012-12-05 #726 In Austin!

Posted by geeknews at 9:26 PM on December 5, 2011

Many thanks to the Ohana that stepped up to the plate this weekend and donated towards our fundraising for our support folks at CES 2012. Trying out a new recording computer here in Austin looking for feedback on the Audio quality.

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Samsung Bests Apple in Worldwide Smartphone Sales

Posted by J Powers at 8:05 AM on October 28, 2011

Samsung Electronics overtook Apple in Q3 in smartphone sales worldwide. Shipping 27.8 million smartphones, Samsung took 23.8 percent of the market. This is a report by Milton Keynes, a UK based strategy analyst reported.

This was a large overtaking, as Apple shipped 17.1 million smartphones (14.6 percent). But this is not surprising. As Apple says, they are in it for quality, not quantity. With Samsung smartphones, you have a bigger choice:

  • Samsung Galaxy S

    Samsung Galaxy S

    Samsung Stratosphere (Verizon [CDMA/LTE], 1 GHz processor, Android 2.3, 5 MP rear, 1.3 MP front camera) $149 with contract

  • Samsung Galaxy S II Epic (Sprint [CDMA/WiMax] or AT&T [GSM] , Android 2.3.4, 1.2GHz dual-core, 8 MP read, 2 MP front face camera) $199 with contract
  • Samsung Fascinate (Verizon [CDMA], Android 2.1, 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor, 5 MP camera) free with contract
  • Samsung 4G Android (T-Mobile, 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird, 5MP rear, VGA front facing camera) $99
  • Samsung Captivate (AT&T [GSM Quad Band, UMTS Tri-band], 1GHz Cortex A8 hummingbird, Android 2.2,  5 MP camera) 0.01 cent
  • Samsung Vibrant (T-Mobile [GSM & AWS Dualband], Android 2.2,  1 GHz Cortex, 5 MP camera)
  • Samsung Mesmerize i599 (US Cellular, Android 2.1, 5MP camera) $49
  • Samsung Showcase (C-Spire, Galaxy S series, CDMA, Android 2.2,  5 MP camera, Super AMOLED display) $99
  • Samsung Galaxy Prevail (Boost Mobile, Android 2.2, 2MP camera, microSD), under $200
  • Samsung Showcase i500 (C-Spire, Android 2.2, 5MP camera) $99

It shows which carrier in the US carries each phone. Carriers on other continents will have these phones tailored to their networks. Since the majority of the world works in a GSM / LTE standard, you can guess which phones you might get in your area.

Although Apple just introduced the 4S, with CDMA and GSM support, it’s still a limited flavor phone. The lower end model 3GS only comes in GSM. You still have a limitation on CDMA with Voice and Data at the same time.

So with that all said, you can see how Samsung can overtake Apple. More choices with more carriers. The C-Spire carrier is in Greenland.

In the end, an Apple iPhone might still have quality, but we are in a world where phones are disposable. People can switch their smartphone every year – I even know people that get a new phone every 4-5 months. They just can’t keep a phone for longer.

GNC-2011-10-10 #712 Facebook App for iPad

Posted by geeknews at 12:58 AM on October 11, 2011

Even though a portion of the country did not work today, there was a great selection of news. In the opening segment we play caller calls, talk about a fabulous green product for the home and a whole stack of tech news.

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