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Engadget is at NAB in Las Vegas, Nevada checking out the latest technology from Intel. Intel debuted an upgraded Thunderbolt technology capable of 20 Gbps in both directions. This is double that of the previous Thunderbolt iteration, which was only capable of 10 Gbps.
Intel stated that they currently have around 200 licensees and added that more Thunderbolt devices should be coming in the upcoming months. Intel also added that thinner Thunderbolt cables are in the works. The upcoming controller is code-named Redwood Ridge and Intel added that it will be built into some of Intel's upcoming Haswell processors.
Falcon Ridge, the next-gen Thunderbolt technology, will enable 4K video file transfer and display. This will be in addition to being capable of 20 Gbps transfer. The technology will be backwards compatible with previous cables and connectors.
It has been confirmed that Austin, Texas will be getting the elusive Google Fiber. Austin, TX will be just the second city to get access to Google's super-fast 1Gbps fiber internet connection and TV service. Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri is the other city to have access to Google's fiber ISP.
Gig.U congratulates Google and the City of Austin for their initiative to bring a world-leading network to one of the world's great research university communities. This effort will pay enormous dividends for the country, as it will help develop the human capital America needs to lead a global economy that increasingly creates value with big data and big bandwidth. The Austin project, as well as the recent response to the North Carolina Next Generation Network project demonstrates that university communities are increasingly recognized as attractive partners for next generation network deployments because of the innovative spirit and demand profiles of their residents. We look forward to watching and learning from the exciting growth and innovation to come from the Google Fiber projects, and accelerating such efforts in Gig.U communities throughout the country.
It's probably not enough to draw most people to move to Austin, but it could certainly help the start-up scene. Austin, Texas is already home to the South by Southwest conference and start-ups wouldn't have to travel if they were already based in Austin.
US Cellular is trying something new for their would-be customers, where they're offering up some play-before-you-pay trials saving customers from signing a two-year agreement, to only be disappointed with US Cellular's network performance.
The offer is for just selected markets, starting off with Eureka, CA, Klamath Falls, OR and Knoxville, TN. Some carriers already offer this, but what happens here is that you don't need to actually sign a contrat in order to get any of the equipment to test their network out. US Cellular will instead offer a loan device, with three on offer: Motorola's Electrify M, Samsung Chrono 2 or Samsung Galaxy Metrix, which can be used for eight days with 500 minutes, 500 texts and 1GB of data included.
This is a great way to test out their network, to see if it's worth a dive into a two-year contract on a new device.
Microsoft has announced a major milestone for the video and instant messaging platform Skype. They say that Skype users now use the service for a total of two billion minutes every day. To celebrate and explain just how large two billion minutes is, Microsoft provided the following infographic:
Two billion minutes is a testament to our users who are making Skype the everyday communications hub that brings people together. This massive amount of connection - enough time to watch 1.6 million movies - is also a testament to the hard work of our product teams who have enabled these great experiences. Whether making a voice or video call, sending an instant message, sharing a file or connecting with a group of friends, now more than ever before, Skype brings people together whenever they are apart
AT&T has said that it will support the iPhone 5's HD Voice technology sometime later this year. The technology will roll out along with AT&T's switching over to routing voice over LTE. "HD Voice is part of our voice over LTE strategy," AT&T senior VP Kris Rinne said.
T-Mobile, on the other hand, will support the iPhone 5's HD Voice technology right from the start. When the device launches, T-Mobile users will be able to experience the higher quality audio that some have called a noticeable improvement. Sprint is also considering implementing HD Voice technology.
T-Mobile has announced at today's Uncarrier event that its 4G LTE network is now live in seven US cities across the nation. T-Mobile customers in Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose, and Washington DC will be able to surf at speeds faster than many home DSL connections.
T-Mobile expects to bring its 4G LTE network to 100 million Americans by the middle of this year and to 200 million Americans by the end of 2013. It's currently in last place in the LTE roll out race, though Sprint isn't too far ahead. Verizon and AT&T continue to be the front runners, but T-Mobile is trying to catch up quickly.
T-Mobile have just debuted a new contract-free, unlimited talk and text plan which comes with an included 500MB of tetherable data - the cost? Just $50 per month. The best part of this is that the US telco has effectively gone contract-free, with phone subsidies pretty much gone.
This also means that T-Mobile customers will be paying retail price for a new smartphone, but they'll have the option of spreading the cost of the phone over two years of monthly payments. T-Mobile's new $50 per month plan with payments for a high-end smartphone over two years still manages to compete against contract-based carriers such as AT&T and Verizon.
The new $50 plan includes 500MB of data, but users won't be capped for bursting through their monthly data allowance, but rather slowed down to "2G speeds." If 500MB of data per month isn't enough for you, for just $10 more you can expand that up to 2GB. This is a perfect option for those using lots of data, or for those who are always tethering their smartphone to a notebook or tablet for some Internet access.
T-Mobile is working quickly to roll out its LTE network. It appears that they are beginning to test installations in a few different cities and OpenSignal has seen their app utilized on the new 4G LTE installations. Lucky for us, we have some early testing data on the network that show it should be able to compete.
A quick disclaimer before we actually dive into the hard numbers: these tests were carried out with little load on the network and were likely in strong signal locations. With that said, the T-Mobile LTE came up with an average download speed of 25Mb/s and 8Mb/s upload. Combine that with an average ping of 40ms and it starts to look really good. Of course, real world speeds will be slower.
It's also interesting to note that the network was being tested with the Samsung Note II, Samsung Galaxy S4, an unlocked AT&T Galaxy S3, and the SII HD LTE. OpenSignal says they have detected testing in Seattle, Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York, San Diego, Kansas City, and the San Jose/Bay Area.
The National Broadband Network will not be rolling out as quickly as previously thought, with the NBN Co announcing a three-month delay in their roll-out targets.
The company in charge of rolling out the NBN has now officially begun scaling back their forecast construction timetable, taking the three-month delay into consideration. They had aimed to reach 341,000 premises by June 30, but we're now looking at the end of September. This means that the NBN Co is only going to get the NBN into around 200,000 or so homes and businesses by June 30.
I'm sure this is going to be the start of more delays, unless the NBN Co and their various partners really nail it from here on out. Give me the NBN already, damn it.
Google's Fiber service is slowly expanding, reaching out to the Kansas City suburb of Olathe, KS. The Olathe City Council has approved of an agreement which allows for the expansion, but there is no firm word on when we should expect the deployment of the super-fast Internet in Olathe.
Google will be competing with Comcast locally, instead of Time Warner in the other areas Fiber has rolled out thus far. Olathe is the fourth biggest Kansas City suburb, so residents should be over the moon with the news of Google Fiber rolling into town, soon.