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Today, the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) announced that development has started on the new Media Agnostic USB Specification. This new spec will allow wireless storage solutions to communicate over the USB protocol without the need for a physical connection. More importantly, the goal of the specification is to allow wireless gigabit transfer rates leveraging existing USB infrastructure.
The WiGig Serial Extension v1.2 specification will provide the initial foundation for this new spec. This WSE specification will be formally transferred to the USB-IF from the Wi-Fi Alliance.
"We are pleased to see the USB-IF use the WiGig Serial Extension in its development of the Media Agnostic USB specification," said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. "Advanced wireless usages of serial bus technology have the potential to deliver great benefit to users."
Additionally, wireless devices implementing the MA USB specification will retain compliance with the SuperSpeed (USB 3.0) and Hi-Speed (USB 2.0) protocols.
HDMI 2.0 has finally been officially announced, arriving at a perfect time to be baked inside of the 4K TVs flowing out of manufacturers' factories. HDMI Licensing took some time of out of its day to announce the new standard, which is quite powerful.
We'er looking at a bandwidth capacity of 18Gbps, which has enough room to squeeze 3840x1260 at 60fps, which is quite nice. HDMI 2.0 also has support for up to 32 audio channels, "dynamic auto lipsync" and additional CEC extensions. The connector itself remains unchanged, which means we should be all systems go for backwards compatibility.
The cables themselves also won't change, which is refreshing, with the HDMI Licensing group claiming that current high-speed Category 2 cables can handle the increased bandwidth.
This is something I didn't expect to read on the weekend, but US retail giant Amazon is rumored to be testing Globalstar's wireless satellite network to see if it could build a wireless service of its own.
If they did, the timing couldn't be better, as Amazon's video viewing audience is continuing to balloon, reaching 38 million unique views last month. On top of that, the amount of time that consumers are spending watching videos on Amazon has doubled over the last six months. What is helping fuel this? The company's Kindle and Kindle Fire range of tablets.
If Amazon built its own wireless network, it would give them total and utter control over its content distribution, which is the same as printing money essentially. Amazon could soon be running its own wireless network, blasting out content to Kindle and Kindle fire devices, to anyone across the United States.
Google are slowly rolling out its uber-fast Fiber service across the United States, but did you know that around 3% of Americans are still stuck on dial-up? You know, the old Internet that wasn't always-on and had your modem make weird sounds when it connected to the Internet.
The news comes from the Pew Research Center's report, that states that 3% of American Internet users are still using dial-up services for their Internet needs, with that 3% number not changing since 2011. This obviously means that there are 3% of Internet users who might not know better, maybe older Internet users without computer-savvy young children or friends, or Internet "black spots" where DSL or cable aren't available.
Intel has teased its latest MXC format, which will combine silicon photonics and a new form of Corning fiber, which will see servers linked at an incredible 1.6Tbps.
The chipmaker is using connectors that are very small, but Intel won't talk about MXC anymore until the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco next month. We can expect supercomputer operators to be on the floor, with huge smiles on their faces. We will be posting all sorts of news during IDF, so be sure to check back soon!
Google has finally started the testing of its Project Loon Wi-Fi balloons in California's Central Valley, where they are "to research various approaches for improving the technology, like the power systems (solar panel orientation and batteries), envelope design, and radio configuration."
The Wi-Fi balloons have previously been tested in New Zealand and various parts of Africa, but there's no concrete date when we could expect them to float across other skies just yet.
Today, Kwickset, the largest home entry lock maker in the US, unveiled a new deadbolt set that can be unlocked with your smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0. Dubbed the Kevo, the wireless deadbolt utilizes Bluetooth 4.0 LE technology to unlock your door when your phone comes within range of its sensor. A wireless Bluetooth key dongle is also included for those without smartphones, and the device still functions with a normal key for instances when the batteries may be dead.
The deadbolt is available in three finishes including Satin Nickel, Venetian Bronze, and Polished Brass. Powered by 4 AA batteries, the set includes two traditional keys, a wireless keyfob, and two "eKeys" for smartphones. For now, the company's smartphone app is only available for third-generation or higher iOS devices, but an Android app and BlackBerry 10 app are in the works. The new deadbolt lock is available for pre-order now at a hefty $219 price tag, which is about ten times the cost of a normal deadbolt.
Today, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced that the USB 3.1 Specification standard has been finalized. This will allow SuperSpeed USB to transfer at up to 10Gbps. The new transfer speeds are made possible by more efficient data encoding algorithms that allow the protocol to deliver more than twice the throughput of the current USB 3.0 standard.
"The USB 3.1 specification primarily extends existing USB 3.0 protocol and hub operation for speed scaling along with defining the next higher physical layer speed as 10 Gbps," said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman. "The specification team worked hard to make sure that the changes made to support higher speeds were limited and remained consistent with existing USB 3.0 architecture to ease product development."
The Group says that the new standard is fully backwards compatible with existing USB 3.0 cables and connectors. All existing software stacks, protocols, and 5Gbps hubs will continue to function with the new standard as well. If you are interested, you can download the latest release of the specification from Source #2 below.
Acer have made quite a bold move today, shifting away from the super-fast Thunderbolt technology and into the arms of USB 3.0 from this point on. Acer spokesperson Ruth Rosene has said that USB 3.0 is less expensive than Thunderbolt, offering close to the same bandwidth, as well as charging devices we use in our every day lives like smartphones and tablets.
Intel are on the defensive, as you can imagine, with the Director of Intel's Client Connectivity Division, Jason Ziller, saying that there are over a dozen new platforms on the market that are powered by Thunderbolt with the Haswell-based fourth-generation Core processors from Intel. ASUS, Dell and Lenovo are all big names who are working with Intel and using Thunderbolt.
Ziller did note that Thunderbolt isn't aimed at value or mid-range systems, and that it is designed for premium systems. This will only become more apparent when Thunderbolt 2 arrives, which is capable of bi-directional speeds of 20Gbps.
MEOW. Yes, MEOW. Telstra's new Mobile Exchange On Wheels (MEOW) has been unveiled, which can handle twice the number of ADSL2+ and PSTN services as its predecessor.
Telstra have said their Mark. III of the MEOW can now support 768 ADSL2+ services, 780 PSTN services and 16 ISDN lines. Comparing this to the Mark. II trailer, which could only handle 330 ADSL2+ and 330 PSTN services. MEOWs are used primarily to get communities back online after an emergency or a natural disaster.
A natural disaster will take down essential services such as ATM and EFTPOS, and in this near cashless society, this can cause huge issues for residents of communities who have no access to electronics. Telstra have built two MEOW Mark. III trailers, and will have them housed Gnangara in Western Australia and Flinders in South Australia.