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BlackBerry is attempting to stay relevant with its latest offering of smartphones. While there is some debate as to whether or not it's working, BlackBerry is charging ahead with other attempts at stay relevant. BlackBerry has announced that they will be releasing BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) apps for both the iOS and Android platforms sometime this summer.
The app will be a free download for both iOS and Android. At the start, BBM will only support text communication, but BlackBerry has plans to add voice and screen sharing sometime down the road. Investors weren't too happy with this announcement and BlackBerry's stock price dropped by about 6 percent.
BlackBerry says the service currently handles around 10 billion messages every day, sent by over 60 million users. The mobile messaging market is heating up with WhatsApp being the messaging app currently on top. Why BlackBerry has just now decided to release BBM for other platforms isn't clear. It could be a good thing, or it could be the signal of a dying company.
Google seems serious about its Google Fiber endeavor as it has been announcing upcoming cities left and right. The latest city to join Google's growing list of cities that will be getting Google Fiber is Gladstone, Missouri. Gladstone is just north of Kansas City, as you can see on the map provided by Google:
Like the other cities currently pending for Google Fiber, Google needs to plan, engineer, and build the infrastructure. Not even a timeline or projected date has been provided to residents, but this should allow them to rest easy knowing that they will soon be getting super-fast and reasonably priced Internet access.
I'm not even enjoying 4G yet, and all I keep hearing is talk of a 5G network being deployed within the next decade. Samsung are behind the new talks, with an under-development wireless network to be capable of giving users the speed to stream data faster than ever dreamed before, even from current wired networks.
You might want to sit down to hear this, but Samsung's 5G network will be capable of 10 gigabits per second, giving users download speeds of around 1.25GB/sec. Considering 4G LTE provides around 75 megabits per second, or around 9.375MB/sec, it is a gigantic leap that can't be frowned upon. We're talking about downloading a Blu-ray movie in under one minute over your mobile Internet connection.
Syria regains Internet connectivity after 19 hours, outage believed to be caused by 'optical cable malfunction'
Internet connectivity is returning to normal in war-torn Syria. Multiple different sources have confirmed that connectivity has returned to the region, though a specific cause can't be determined as of yet. The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency is reporting that the outage was a result of an optic cable malfunction.
Of course, being a state-run media, it's very possible this report could be inaccurate. What I still find extremely scary is the fact that an entire country can drop off of the Internet just like that. This is a case where we need to come up with a more redundant and reliable network.
Google has announced that Grandview, Missouri will join the growing list of cities in which Google Fiber will be available. This announcement comes just five days after Google announced that Shawnee, Kansas residents could expect Google Fiber to become available in the coming months and years.
Like the last announcement, the details were a bit on the light side. Residents know that they will be getting Fiber, but they don't know when. Grandview is located just south of Kansas City, the first city to get Google Fiber. This will make the expansion easy and makes logical sense as to why Google picked it for Google Fiber.
Google shows no signs of slowing down Fiber roll out. In fact, the announcements seem to be speeding up, suggesting that Google ultimately wants to be an ISP. Keep your fingers crossed that Fiber soon makes its way to your city.
Apple has never been very good when it comes to Internet-based activities. MobileMe and other offerings by Apple have often fallen by the wayside as Google and others produced better--and cheaper--alternatives. Apple's iMessage service makes use of the Internet to transmit text messages between iPhones and other Apple devices.
Apple's iMessage is also suffering from an interesting, if not too problematic, glitch that results in the last word of phrases to be replaced with spaces. The glitch only affects certain phrases and it's not clear why the glitch is even occurring. Even more interesting, if you copy the message and paste it into the compose window, the full, unadulterated phrase will be shown.
To trigger the bug, you have to use certain phrases with a trailing space. For instance, "I could be the next Obama" results in Obama being removed and replaced with spaces. You can also try "the best prize is a surprise". If you find any other phrases that trigger the bug, let us know!
We covered T-Mobile's 4G LTE launch and Uncarrier event pretty closely. At the time, all of the other major networks in the country already had operating LTE networks in multiple markets. T-Mobile now believes that it could end up being the first carrier to roll out 5G LTE-Advanced.
In a recent interview with Venture Beat, T-Mobile's head of radio network and evolution strategy, Yasmin Karimli, said that this is due to their slow rollout of 4G:
I think we'll probably be able to move faster [to LTE-Advanced] because we have the latest hardware in place. Others may have hardware that's two years old, so they may have to rip and replace.
We don't fully know what it will take for the other networks to roll out 5G LTE-Advanced, though what Karimli says makes sense. 5G LTE allows for theoretical speeds of up to 300Mbps, around three times faster than LTE. T-Mobile plans to cover 100 million people by mid-2013 and 200 million by the end of 2013 with 4G LTE.
Sprint is a bit behind the other major US carriers in terms of LTE availability because they originally went with WiMax as their 4G technology. Not wanting to be left behind, Sprint has been pushing out LTE as quickly as possible. We previously announced that Sprint was ready to bring LTE to 21 new markets and now they have officially announced its availability.
Joining the ranks of LTE-enabled markets are the following:
- Albemarle, N.C.
- Bloomington, Ind.
- Charlotte, N.C.
- Contra Costa County, Calif.
- Denison, Texas
- Greeneville, Tenn.
- Joplin, Mo.
- Kerrville, Texas
- Lafayette, Ind.
- Lincolnton, N.C.
- Los Angeles
- Mankato/North Mankato, Minn.
- Memphis, Tenn.
- Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Newport News, Va.
- Palm Bay, Fla.
- Port St. Lucie, Fla.
- Rochelle, Ill.
- Salisbury, N.C.
- Shelby, N.C.
- Tullahoma, Tenn.
- West Palm Beach, Fla.
These new additions bring Sprint's total LTE market count up to 88, still far behind the other carriers. Sprint has said that there will be more than 170 markets getting LTE in the coming months as they play catch up. Some cities, such as San Francisco, already have LTE, though they haven't been officially announced.
Google seems to be expanding their push to roll out Google Fiber. Just days after announcing that Austin, Texas would be Google's second Fiber city, ArsTechnica is reporting that Google is working to acquire iProvo, a fiber-based ISP owned by the city of Provo, Utah.
In order to bring Fiber to Provo, we've signed an agreement to purchase iProvo, an existing fiber-optic network owned by the city. As a part of the acquisition, we would commit to upgrade the network to gigabit technology and finish network construction so that every home along the existing iProvo network would have the opportunity to connect to Google Fiber. Our agreement with Provo isn't approved yet-it's pending a vote by the City Council scheduled for next Tuesday, April 23. We intend to begin the network upgrades as soon as the closing conditions are satisfied and the deal is closed.
Provo has a lot to gain from this. Not only would the city no longer have to finance the build-out of the network, Google is offering the same free 5Mbps/1Mbps connection as they have in Kansas and Austin. Google is also offering up free Gigabit connections to 25 different local public institutions, including schools, hospitals, and libraries.
Comcast has decided to start encrypting even their basic cable channels, forcing customers to use a settop box on every TV where they want to watch cable TV. Previously, basic cable channels would just require hooking a TV up to the coax jack in the wall.
We are beginning to proactively notify customers in select markets that we will begin to encrypt limited basic channels as now permitted by last year's FCC B1 Encryption Order. While the vast majority of our customers won't be impacted because they already have digital equipment connected to their TVs, we understand this will be a change for a small number of customers and will be making it as convenient as possible for them to get the digital equipment they may need to continue watching limited basic channels.
Comcast will provide up to two DTAs free for two years, provided that the customers do not currently have equipment on their account. Customers will also have to request the settop boxes during the offer period around the time of encryption. Comcast has put up this FAQ about what to expect from the new encryption.