There is a lot of talk today about AT&T's new USBConect Lightning 7.2Mbps Cellular wireless device. For the most part the only thing of note is the 7.2Mbps speed. The rest is a pretty boring USB device. It is powered by a Sierra Wireless Chip.
The thing that many are missing though is that, although the new product will hit the streets on November 22nd, the network to support it is not there yet. In fact by the end of 2009 there will only be a handful of cities with support for the new speed. AT&T hopes to have the new 7.2M wireless service rolled out in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami.
Another interesting thing to note is that there is no mention of the iPhone 3G S. This device was touted at one time as being ready for AT&T's next network upgrade. With the lack of mention it does make you wonder if it really will be able to take advantage of the new speeds or if it will still have to rely on the current spotty 3G network. Hmmm, now that I come to think on that; why doesn't AT&T fix their current network before spending money on a new one? Well, I suppose they may think that they will try and kill two birds with one stone. I just hope that the coverage of the new network ends up better than the current one.
High on the list of things we want for many mobile geeks is faster mobile broadband speeds. AT&T has announced new 7.2Mbps USBConnect Lightning modem from Sierra Wireless. The device is capable of speedy downloads and will help you burn through those paltry data allotments faster.
There isn't really much else to say about the thing other than it appears to have a hideaway USB connector and offers more speed. The modem will be offered for free in time for the faster 7.2Mbps service to launch in select cities.
The faster 7.2Mbps speeds are intended to hold us over until AT&T can get LTE rolled out in select area in 2010 and 2011. The modem will be available starting on November 22.
A company by the name of I-O Data has jumped on the USB 3.0 bandwagon early with no less than three compatible devices including an external HDD, PCI-e expansion card and an ExpressCard.
The HDJ-UT USB 3.0 HDD is offered in both 1 and 1.5TB capacities and can deliver up to 139MB/sec transfer rates (when it is of course plugged into a USB 3.0 port), but is also backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports.
The PCI-e and ExpressCard expansion cards each other two USB 3.0 ports with the former being for desktops and the latter notebooks.
Pricing for the external USB 3.0 HDD is set at $231 and $279 for the 1 and 1.5TB models respectively, whilst the USB3-PEX PCI-e expansion card costs $69 and the USB3-EXC ExpressCard $93.
Ever since their inception, the Beatles took the world by storm and certainly need no form of introduction even to the majority of younger crowds worldwide today. Once again they're in the limelight having chosen to offer their music collection in non DRM form on media outside of the usual compact disc; this being a Limited Edition USB Stick.
The Limited Edition USB Stick carries the entire LP collection of the British band in a stereo mix along with the mini-documentaries, album art and liner notes from the remastered CDs. Significantly, all of the songs come both in unprotected 320Kbps MP3 as well as in a similarly unguarded, lossless FLAC and should work on most any computer or portable player.
The drive itself is Apple Records-themed with 16GB capacity. 30,000 are said to be shipping out as of December 8 for $280, with pre-orders beginning today.
There is a new batch of information out on Intel and USB 3.0. Today it is an e-mail that was sent to TG Daily. Somehow the line "We [have also] learned that Intel is postponing USB 3 introduction until 2011" has become a confirmation of a delay of USB 3.0 by Intel.
We contacted Intel to ask them and were told they have not announced any delay and that the delay talked about on TGDaily was a rumor. Now that does not always cover the issue, just because a company has not announced a delay does not mean there is not going to be one.
There are a couple of issues behind this one. Intel was one of the authors behind the XHCI specification and need USB 3.0 for LightPeak. On the surface it would seem to show that there would be no reason to delay the release of USB 3.0 in a chipset. The other is that NVIDIA is currently in a legal battle with Intel over their manufacture of chipset for Nehalem, Lynnfield and future CPUs that do not use FSB.
It would seem given these items to be little more than NVIDIA thumping their chests and saying they are better than Intel and that Intel is bad and stifling competition and innovation. Bu, is that what it really going on? As we have written many companies are finding ways to put USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0 on their boards. This means that there should be no noticeable delay in the uptake of USB in the market.
Solutions from Asus and GIGABYTE will hit the market in the next month or so and like the implementation of USB 2.0 (and 1.0a before that) will be the entry for this new specification. It is also important to note that AMD does not have a USB 3.0/ SATA 3.0 chipset implementation yet either. I have been told this is because Intel is blocking it but, I am not so sure I buy into that. After all if the information I have is accurate we should see USB 3.0 from AMD slightly before Intel. If Intel was blocking it then it would be the reverse.
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A-DATA has today announced a very cool self-developed application it calls OStoGO. This allows one to easily set up an A-DATA branded USB Flash Drive to install Windows 7; particularly handy if the user doesn't have an optical drive and / or likes to decrease the install time by using a quality high-speed flash drive.
As to whether or not the application will work for other branded flash drives is not known for sure. The application will be released in early November.
For PCs without optical drives such as Netbooks, UMPCs and MIDs, installing a new OS could be a time-consuming task. With A-DATA OStoGO software, users are capable of converting bootable DVD to USB flash drive and install OS themselves via bootable USB flash directly. Featuring user-friendly interface (UI) and one-click-conversion, OStoGO can easily solve your installation issues by three simple steps. First, insert your Windows 7 DVD(*1) into optical drive. Second, plug your A-DATA USB connector into a USB port. Thirdly, specify drive letter and click start. Then, the Windows 7 setup system is fully transferred into the USB flash drive(*2)! Now you can setup windows 7 at a blazing booting speed by A-DATA USB flash drive!
You can read A-DATA's full press announcement on their new OStoGO application here folks.
Today we visited the Taiwan Broadband WiMAX 2009 trade show in Taipei City and got a look at a range of different devices and applications which are somehow broadband or WiMAX related.
The Taiwan government has invested a lot of money into WiMAX and it is one of the first countries in the world to have at least quite a bit of this sort of wireless "4G" broadband connectivity available for consumer use.
We saw a range of netbook enabled with WiMAX, along with MIDs and other personal internet devices, but for us, by far the coolest thing we saw at the show was the WiMAX-enabled taxi. It's a next-generation taxi cab that is fully connected with WiMAX. It at first seems kind of futuristic, but this is an actual Taiwanese cab and the person sitting in the driver seat is the owner of the car and a taxi driver. It's in operation right now.
A small touch computer device in the back seat running Windows CE allows the passenger to surf the net, use a range of location based services and even watch TV and more.
Watch our video below for a look at the Taiwan WiMAX-enabled taxi:
The next taxi I pull over on the street, let's just say I hope it has WiMAX.
(Video at the bottom) Today we were invited to the GIGABYTE headquarters here in Taipei. We were given an exclusive hands-on look at its upcoming and refreshed Intel P55 Express based motherboards for Core i5 and Core i7 Lynnfield based Socket 1156 processors. Namely, we are looking at the P55A-UD6 and the P55A-UD4P.
GIGABYTE had actually planned to implement SATA3 support in its first revision P55 motherboards that were launched back in June around Computex time, but due to some controller issues, a delay was an unfortunate result.
Marvel has since fixed and improved its single disk and RAID 0 supporting SATA3 controller and now we see one of the first motherboards on the market to support the next generation storage system. At the moment, there is no RAID 1 support, but a GIGABYTE product manager mentioned in our meeting that Marvell may come out with a new firmware a little later adding that ability. Also, GIGABYTE told us that they saw up to a 30% increase in performance when going from a SATA2 to SATA 3 hard drive under HD Tach, measuring both burst and read speeds. Not bad.
Next on the list of refresh changes with both boards is the addition of USB 3.0 support. We've all been using USB 2.0 for what feels like an eternity now, finally we see again one of the first motherboards to add in support for the new Super Speed plug and play connectivity standard. An NEC chipset has been used as you can see below.
The third big thing GIGABYTE is pushing with the "A" refresh of P55 boards is triple power USB. What the heck is that? Well, in order to increase the stability and support of connected USB devices, GIGABYTE tripled the amount of output power on all USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. The USB 2.0 spec calls for a minimum output of 500 milliamps per port, that has gone to 1500 milliamps and the USB 3.0 spec calls for a higher minimum output of 900 milliamps per power and that has been increased to 2700 milliamps. What this also means is that now all external hard drives will work and you'll only need to use one USB cable for both data and power transfer.
But we're not quite done yet. The forth change that isn't documented as much is the fact that GIGABYTE has switched over from a Foxconn socket to a Lotes socket. While I haven't personally heard of this, GIGABYTE told us that there have been reports online of the Foxconn sockets causing all sorts of problems, hence the switch. The socket has also been coated to match the rest of the board. Good touch.
Check out our video right here for all the details and a good, close, hands-on look.
Early next week we'll also give you an exclusive look at GIGABYTE's X58 Extreme2 motherboard - stay tuned for that video!
The adoption of any new peripheral technology requires a few things to happen. The first is the need to form a viable idea, the next is to establish some form of standard and the third is partner support in the form of supporting hardware, and follow on products. It is usually this third item that causes products to fail.
In the case of USB 3.0 we find that products are coming but there does not seem to be any built-in support for them yet. The reason, according to the ranting of a senior technology manager at what is being called a "top tier PC Manufacturer" , is that Intel is not planning to include support this new technology in its chipsets until 2011. This bit of news has yet to be confirmed or denied by Intel, which is nothing new as they rarely comment on rumors like this or on future products.
AMD and NVIDIA have commented on this and say that Intel is purposely dragging its feet over this and delaying the release of this new standard. Now I can see NVIDIA getting annoyed with this as they are stopping chipset design and manufacture for now, but AMD can implement it on their own time frame.
In fact I would think they would want to do this as it will give them an advantage in the market (something that Intel does not have). It is also important to note that Intel's new Light Peak will need USB 3.0 to operate properly (from what we understand) so it would not make sense for them to delay this standard any longer than needed. This little drama is something we will certainly want to keep an eye on as the first group of USB 3.0 devices are launched and ship.
Remember that very cool Optical interface that Intel showed off at IDC called Light Peak? Well after some digging we found out that this is sort of a spin off idea of a much older concept and one that Apple is very interested in(as we said at the time it would explain the used of the Hackintosh).
At IDC Intel did not give any time frame for the launch of the product. This is not surprising as the demo was in the very early stages (if the state of it is any measure).However we have read some new information that could indicate that Light Peak is closer to reality than it currently seems.
The information comes not in the form of a leak from Intel or Apple; instead it is all about the cable that would be used for connections.
Foci Fiber Optic Communication, is a maker of the new Light Peak optical cables as well as other parts associated with the new connectivity standard. They are saying that the parts and hardware will be ready some time in 2010.
The problem with that date is standardization. Intel wants to work with the USB-IF to make sure their Light Peak is covered and part of a larger standard. This makes it much easier to implement and also to market. This process could take a few years to complete. So, while the hardware might be ready, it looks like the delay is all in the paperwork at this point.
Once Light Peak is out, it could conceivable eliminate the need to all of those extra cables needed just to connect your system.
As a kid, I remember cartoons where the evil mainframe computer would take over the world by using a laser (of course an evil laser!) to tap into the world's systems and forcing the hero to save the day.
This is exactly what Intel is working on; well except for the laser and the evil part. Today at IDF, Intel showed a new method for connecting mobile systems to an existing network of devices. The new technology is being dubbed "Light Peak" and could allow mobile devices to connect to storage, display, networking, audio and pretty much anything you can conceive.
The new standard uses an optical connector (hence the laser reference) that is capable of sending up to 10Gbps at distances of up to 100 meters (about 333 feet). The idea is to reduce the number of ports and connectors needed for mobile devices (remember we talked about moving all of the PCI-e family onto the CPU?) and replace them with a single one that can pretty much do them all.
I do not think I will ever get tired of saying this, the future of computing is looking pretty cool right now!
A long time coming, USB 3.0 sees its first product certifed, an xHCI host controller from NEC. Certainly nothing to jump for joy about, but it's a start.
Engadget have spoken to a Jeff Ravencraft whom is the president and chairman of the USB-IF (responsible for overseeing certification procedures) and from what's been said on his part, USB 3.0 based products will start to surface in the market by early 2010, but with this host controller apparently available now in the open market, we may well see some manufacturers speed things up for a shorter time frame.
He also noted that a smattering of companies would be showcasing USB 3.0 gear at upcoming trade shows, with a Buffalo external hard drive, an ExpressCard-to-USB 3.0 adapter and even a full-on laptop with a functioning USB 3.0 port making a stop at IDF later this week. Aside from the aforesaid ExpressCard adapter -- which will let existing lappies enjoy the spoils of SuperSpeed USB -- he also noted that a PCI card would be available for desktop users looking to add a few sockets to their rig. We were also informed that USB 3.0 receptor ports will play nice with USB 2.0 cables and gadgets, albeit at USB 2.0 speed; additionally, USB 3.0 wares will be able to connect via older USB 2.0 sockets, though again at a slower rate. We've got to say, the dual-backwards compatibility is pretty sweet.
Intel is planning to show off some USB 3.0 devices at IDF. There will be everything from a Laptop from Fujitsu to a camera that will run off of the high-speed USB port.
USB 3.0 is the next generation of the Universal Serial Bus standard that was first introduced at the end of the Windows 95 era. USB was touted as the best thing since sliced bread despite not having proper drivers for most of the operating systems out. Windows 95 was the big product from MS and it required the installation of an upgrade (to version b) to get USB support.
Of course things are a little different now with the move to the newer standard. The devices that are being built to run off this are faster and more demanding. For example with the new SuperSpeed USB standard we will see (for the first time) a USB Attached SCSI Protocol. This will allow greatly increased throughput on external drives with reduced latency for better and more consistent transfer of data.
Video cameras will also get a nice boost, especially HD cameras. AS we move towards higher and higher resolutions (like 4k and 8k) the need for a fast connectivity standard is even more important than ever.
But while we will see these devices demonstrated at IDF it will still be some time before the actual products hit the streets.
I have worked with PoE (Power over Ethernet) and even wrote up both sides of this handy little feature that uses you network to provide power to remote devices. This is a great feature, but has absolutely nothing on what I saw today.
This is HDMI over Ethernet using a standard IP network. The device that makes this possible is called the Projector Connector and can send up to HDMI 1.3 Lossless over any standard IP/Ethernet network. As long as you are running Cat 5/6/7 cable you are set.
The Projector Connector can also handle up to three switches between the source and the display. This gives you up to 1,000 Feet to play with between points.
For any home theater buff this is a dream come true as the Projector Connector can also send an IR control signal right back down to the source. You can have multiple transmitters as long as you are using a managed switch with VLAN/IGMP support (like the TRENDNet TEG-160WS).
The Projector Connector with an IR Emitter will set you bad about $310 ao HDMI over IP will not come cheap
Looks like the broadband service in South Africa is not as fast as a single laden swallow. So it is certainly not faster than an un-laden swallow, or two swallows holding something between them. Now a European swallow…
Alright I will stop with the Monty Python bit. However it is funny that someone in South Africa discovered that it was faster to attach a USB Flash Drive to a carrier pigeon than it was to try and send the file by the local broadband carrier.
The data in question was a 4GB Flash drive that was attached to a young carrier pigeon. The bird named Winston then had to fly 60 miles to deliver his data. At the same time the file was being uploaded across an ADSL line.
Winston arrived with the data in a little over an hour while the internet upload took almost twice as long to complete.
Telkom (the local provider) says that they have offered solution to fix the speed issue (which I am pretty sure are much more expensive) but so far none of these have been accepted.
His should be no big surprise, after all whenever I call to complain about anything with my ISP they offer to "fix" it with a more expensive package.
WooooHooooo! Finally, after a few months and a few Class Action Lawsuits AT&T is going to extend the blanket of MMS to their service for the iPhone.
This is great news for anyone that is tied to the Exclusive iPhone carrier. When the iPhone OS 3.0 and 3G S launched on June 19th this year it was bathed in "hard sell" for the new and exciting features. Including such ground breaking things like Cut, Copy, and Paste, tethering, and of course MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service). Now while everyone else in the world was able to use these pretty much at launch AT&T said sorry, you'll have to wait until end of summer.
No one is sure why as every other AT&T phone sells with this technology, but AT&T stood firm. Well in the last month or so AT&T and Apple have had to answer a number of lawsuits for false advertisement. That seems to have spurred AT&T to finally offer the service.
Of course we will still have to wait for tethering, According to AT&T their network cannot keep up with the demand. This all on its own begs the question "If AT&T's network cannot provide proper bandwidth and support for all of the iPhone's features; why should they be the only ones allowed to sell it." At this point the exclusive deal with AT&T is directly hurting consumers and needs to be looked at much closer by regulators.
Nokia, has announced its very own netbook so that it can join the ranks of, well just about everyone else.
Not wanting to miss out on Intel's cash cow the Atom they have put jumped on the bandwagon. The interesting thing is there is not a whole lot of detail yet, but by some of the more mundane details we can draw some interesting possibilities.
The inclusion of an HDMI port, Windows 7, 10.10 inch HD ready and the 12-hout battery life could mean an ION chipset under the hood with a lower power Atom. However, it could also indicate a Pinetrail Atom. Nokia is has not listed the specs, pricing or availability yet, but say they will spill the beans next week at Nokia World.
Personally I think that this will indeed be a Pinetrail Atom based netbook. If that holds true it will be a netbook to watch.
Having branched out into other areas such as the solid state drive market after primarily being a memory specialist for most of its lifespan, OCZ has now decided to take a few steps back and offer a modest run of the mill USB thumb drive dubbed the Zee.
Minimalist by design, the Zee is a offered in capacities of 2, 4, 8 and 16GB, uses a removeable cap design and is covered by a two-year warranty.
Exact performance specs haven't been disclosed, OCZ is just saying the Zee is capable of 'mainstream' speeds. Pricing and availablity is also yet to be announced.
The official press release can be located here.
San Jose, CA-August 19, 2009-OCZ Technology Group, a worldwide leader in innovative, ultra-high performance and high reliability memory, today introduced the Zee USB 2.0 flash drive, perfect for users seeking a simple and portable way to tote their multi-media files and documents. For the on-the-go student, gamer, or professional, the OCZ Zee is the ideal companion for a busy digital lifestyle at an affordable price point.
In case the recent rash of 128GB and 256GB USB drives are not enough for you Intel and Micro have developed a 34nm NAND Flash chip that allows them to squeeze another bit into each cell. This is a roughly 50% increase in density as current cells only allow for 2 bits.
the advent of the 34nm process will also allow for lower power needs and a smaller foot print for the actual drives.
However, there is a small problem, it seems that packing in the extra bit has lowered the cells reliability. This not something that you look at lightly. Still according to Intel and Micron the new chips are more than reliable enough for USB drives but not quite there for SSDs.
So be on the lookout for 1TB USB keys soon.
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