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  1. #21  
    Quote Originally Posted by bmacfarland
    As long as EVDO doesn't cost $99+ a month, I'm for it. Wifi will be available in metro-wide by end of next year as well. In fact it's available now.
    UMTS, which is comparable to EVDO, is currently up and running in several markets and the price is $25/mos for unlimited use.
    Off to iPhone land...
  2. #22  
    Quote Originally Posted by gfunkmagic
    This is probably what the PalmOne execs were talking about when they mentioned that the preferred the "in house" software they created for the Treos. This way they can develop the Treo without giving up all the in-house software to competitors. From they way they were describing it, it appeared PalmOne execs viewed Cobalt as far from a polished product...
    This upsets me. They have so much to gain by allowing their software to go into the OS.

    You'd think they could create a constructive licensing deal where they get access to the OS for fewer dollars and get a royalty from other companies using the telephony stack.
  3. #23  
    Quote Originally Posted by ghileman
    UMTS, which is comparable to EVDO, is currently up and running in several markets and the price is $25/mos for unlimited use.
    Is that an initial price or is that guarenteed to be price when it's rolled out nationally? I think it's probably something that people are beta testing. BTW where in the US is UMTS available?
  4. #24  
    I remember the same debacle with the 600...lots of buzz around "drivers just around the corner" and in the end just a bunch of disappointed customers.

    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE
    a glimmer of WIFI hope...

    after the DC show I had a intensive talk with Greg Shirai about the 650's wifi lapse -- and about when they would be making drivers for their own wifi card.

    He explained that if it was just a simple matter of writing a 650 driver they would already have done it. Creating the software for juggling the "radios" is complex, and its still to be written for the 650.

    I pointed out that PPC devices have already mastered this issue. In response he inferred that the underlying OS plumbing of PPCs provides support for wifi -- making their integration much simpler.

    The POS -- especially the version they are now using -- does not have this capability, which forces P1 to do much more to successfully write the software etc. along with the drivers.

    Additionally, another important limitation on P1 putting out drivers for their card soon is that they need to get the carriers (& maybe FCC too??) to sign off on changes that they make that affect their system's "radio's" (i.e. range, quality, etc.)

    Therefore its much more likely that a 3rd party manufacturer will come to produce a wifi card before P1. I asked if they were cooperating with companies like Sandisk who've complained about the difficulty of working with P1 & PSRC in the past.

    He said he knew of a company -- not Sandisk -- that was working hard on making a 650 compatible wifi card, that he hoped would be out in the beginning of the year.

    I mentioned how important wifi was to a significant portion of his potential customers -- how many are already migrating to the PDA2K/6601 for example. I further said to him that there's a certain stickiness when people go to another operating platform that makes it highly likely that they will never return. He said he understood that -- and agreed that wifi was important.

    My gut sense though was that his heart was not committed to this as I would have hoped. I spoke to most of the senior P1 staffers at the show and in general they were not convinced that wifi was a killer app. They would mostly want to know what you would use wifi for if it was available. They largely believe that the majority of their potential custoers are not going to decide on the 650 on the basis of wifi. They think that wifi is mostly a geek thing. (this was especially the view of the tall thin guy -- a very nice man -- I just think he's wrong).

    (BTW, because increasingly most PPC devices have wifi onboard, 3rd party manufactures have an added incentive to get their cards to work on the 650-- so this hope is perhaps realistic.)
  5. #25  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE
    a glimmer of WIFI hope...

    after the DC show I had a intensive talk with Greg Shirai about the 650's wifi lapse

    My gut sense though was that his heart was not committed to this as I would have hoped. I spoke to most of the senior P1 staffers at the show and in general they were not convinced that wifi was a killer app. They would mostly want to know what you would use wifi for if it was available. They largely believe that the majority of their potential custoers are not going to decide on the 650 on the basis of wifi. They think that wifi is mostly a geek thing. (this was especially the view of the tall thin guy -- a very nice man -- I just think he's wrong).
    How can these guys not get WiFis value proposition given its continued growth and ubiquitous prospects, albeit against the carrier's dead bodies (see below)


    Telecom Giants
    Oppose Cities On Web Access

    By JESSE DRUCKER
    Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    November 23, 2004; Page B1

    Dozens of cities and towns across the country are rushing to provide low- or no-cost wireless Internet access to their residents, but the large phone and cable companies, fearful of losing a lucrative market, are fighting back by pushing states to pass legislation that could make it illegal for municipalities to offer the service.

    Over the past few months, several big cities -- including Philadelphia and San Francisco -- have announced plans to cover every square block with wireless Internet access via the popular technology known as Wi-Fi, short for wireless fidelity. Cities say these plans will spur economic development and help bridge the digital divide, making Web access nearly ubiquitous.

    But that's bad news for the large Bell telephone companies and cable operators, who are looking to their digital-subscriber-line (DSL) and cable-modem businesses for growth. Wi-Fi, technically known as 802.11, takes existing high-speed Internet connections and wirelessly extends them by several hundred feet, allowing dozens or even hundreds of people to share one subscription.

    CAST YOUR VOTE



    1
    Should cities offer wireless Internet access to their residents, or leave it to companies? Participate in the Question of the Day2.



    Philadelphia announced during the summer that it would hook up the entire city with Wi-Fi. Its current Wi-Fi service is free, but it hasn't decided whether that would continue with wider deployment; it may charge a small fee. "There are some very specific goals that the city has that are not met by the private sector: affordable, universal access and the digital divide," says Dianah Neff, the city's chief information officer. She says that less than 60% of the city's neighborhoods have broadband access.

    However, last week, after intensive lobbying by Verizon Communications Inc., the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a bill with a deeply buried provision that would make it illegal for any "political subdivision" to provide to the public "for any compensation any telecommunications services, including advanced and broadband services within the service territory of a local exchange telecommunications company operating under a network-modernization plan." Verizon is the local exchange telecommunications company for most of Pennsylvania, and it is planning to modernize the region using high-speed fiber-optic cable. The bill has 10 days for the governor to sign it or veto it.

    The Pennsylvania bill follows similar legislative efforts earlier this year by telephone companies in Utah, Louisiana and Florida to prevent municipalities from offering telecommunications services, which could include fiber and Wi-Fi.

    Critics denounce this legislative tactic, arguing that the U.S. lags behind other countries in broadband Internet access because the phone and cable companies have been slow to roll out the service in some areas.

    "We should be encouraging our municipalities to take a major role in broadband, the way other countries are doing," says James Baller, an attorney in Washington, D.C., who represents local governments on telecommunications issues.

    CORDLESS CITIES



    Some areas with advanced plans to deploy, or that have already deployed, large-scale WIFI hot zones.

    Los Angeles
    Philadelphia
    Milwaukee
    Cleveland
    St. Louis
    Spokane, Wash.
    Charleston, S.C.
    Montpelier, Vt.
    Marion, Ind.
    Granbury, Texas

    Source: Muniwireless.com3



    The telecom companies argue that it is unfair for them to have to compete against the government. They say that the legislation enables them to improve service to their customers by investing in their networks. "If we put that money at risk, and here comes government to compete against us, with advantages that government has -- not paying taxes, access to capital at good rates ... that severely limits the opportunity and limits our interest in taking the risk," says Eric Rabe, a spokesman for Verizon. Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell has until November 30 to act on the bill, and hasn't said yet which route he will choose.

    Telephone companies have long used local legislative muscle to stave off competition. After Congress passed the landmark Telecom Act in 1996, which required local telephone providers to open their networks to allow competition, several municipalities, including some municipal power companies, sought to offer telephone service. After extensive lobbying by the Bell telephone companies, roughly a dozen states passed laws prohibiting municipalities from offering telecommunications services. Currently, 621 municipal power utilities around the country provide some kind of advanced communication service, including telephone, high-speed Internet access and cable television, according to the American Public Power Association; a minority of these utilities sell those services to the general public.

    The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year found that such legislation was legal, so cities and towns are particularly anxious to quash such legislation before it gets passed.

    The tactic is being revived by the increasing interest in using Wi-Fi to spread broadband access, as well as interest in fiber. Wi-Fi equipment maker Tropos Networks Inc. says it has supplied gear for public networks in roughly 50 towns and cities, including Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Corpus Christi, Texas. Scottsburg, Ind., last year built a network using a different type of wireless technology that covers nearly all of the surrounding county's residents, using equipment from Alvarion Ltd.

    Earlier this year, the attempts by local telephone companies BellSouth Corp. and Qwest Communications International Inc. to push for severe restrictions on municipal broadband service in Louisiana and Utah ended in compromise, in some cases with existing plans being allowed to continue but new plans limited.

    The legislative provision in Pennsylvania -- a small portion of a much larger telecommunications bill that gives telephone companies incentives to modernize their networks -- was originally prompted by the fiber deployment of a small town called Kutztown. But people involved in the legislative process say the provision took on added importance for legislators and the state's big phone companies after Philadelphia announced its Wi-Fi plans.

    Cities have been able to deploy Wi-Fi relatively cheaply: Philadelphia says it set up its initial wireless zone for $85,000, paid out of the city's budget. The city-wide offering is expected to cost $10 million, and could be paid for by a combination of borrowing, private donations or selling rights to the poles on which the Wi-Fi equipment will be deployed.

    The annual cost of operating the system is expected to be roughly $1.5 million. Since the city has said the plan would be "cost neutral," a prohibition on levying any fee for the service could make it tough to deploy. "That's been made more difficult by current legislation," says Ms. Neff. However, she adds: "It's not stopping us. It may have eliminated some options."

    The city deploys its current system much like a larger version of a wireless setup in a Starbucks coffee shop: A high-speed line connects to a wireless antenna mounted on a light pole that essentially sprays out the connection for several hundred feet.

    Unlike high-speed connections into people's homes -- a service dominated in Philadelphia by Verizon -- the city could choose a variety of high-speed access providers for its Wi-Fi offerings, including MCI, Sprint Corp. and Level 3 Communications Inc.

    The Pennsylvania bill, first introduced in 2003, was passed by the state Senate late Thursday night and then passed for a second time by the state House of Representatives late Friday night by wide margins. Senate supporters agreed with Verizon's view of the legislation. Don Houser, a spokesman for Senator Jake Corman, the Senate sponsor of the bill, said "the thinking was the telephone companies didn't want to have local municipalities using tax dollars to compete with private dollars."

    Verizon spokesman Mr. Rabe says the legislation is not a giveaway -- it also contains incentives for the phone company to deploy broadband service throughout the state, which he says will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The bill also has a grandfather clause, giving an opening to providers who have some types of service in place before Jan. 1, 2006, but it is unclear how that would affect Philadelphia's plans.

    Write to Jesse Drucker at jesse.drucker@wsj.com4
    Off to iPhone land...
  6.    #26  
    Quote Originally Posted by bmustaf
    I remember the same debacle with the 600...lots of buzz around "drivers just around the corner" and in the end just a bunch of disappointed customers.
    I went to the road show disgruntled and loaded for bear --

    for the last year most of what I've written in this forum has been inspired by frustration at the absence of wifi cards for the 600 while they proliferated for PPCs. When I had read that Sandisk ceased work on Palm versions of their WIFI card because of a lack of cooperation from P1 & PSRC and exorbitant fees for access to their proprietary code -- I nearly exploded with exasperation. That the same lapse was now apparently to be repeated with the 650 was incomprehensible.

    My despair grew from my wanting the Treo and the POS platform to succeed and prosper in the face of that devouring monster from Redmond. We all know the history -- Netscape, WordPerfect, DRDOS etc etc ? superior products, earlier to market -- ultimately ground down and overwhelmed by an adversary whose unlimited resources derive from its PC monopoly.

    For the Treo and the POS platform to prosper, its entire eco-system needs to be healthy and fertile. Its never a good thing when fewer companies create for an OS platform -- losing Sony, HS, and the others causes long term root level damage that's hard to reverse. (The 650 needs to have at least the compelling features that are available from that competing platform -- and if it hadn't created them on its own it needs the creativity and resources of 3rd party developers to take up their slack --- and it must do everything possible to assist those developers.)

    I came loaded for bear -- but they disarmed me with candor and cookies. (rather good cookies). They were impressively accessible and honest with me -- and I must have seemed from the start a potentially difficult attendee. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt amongst a crowd of suits, it would have been easy to have given my tough questioning short attention, formulaic answers, and moved on.

    They patiently engaged -- never walking away until all questions from me or anyone else got asked -- and explained how they came to make the decisions that they made. If they had been less forthcoming, and more evasive in their answers I would have been easier to hold to my preconception of them as incompetent fools who are surviving off the rotting corpse of Handspring's masterpiece.

    I left neither gruntled nor angry. I see that they are trying as best they can to deal with the very tough hand they have been dealt. That they are making terrible choices with regards to Wifi and <32megs of usable memory is inescapable.

    But they dealing from a hand that must husband its pennies because it can't afford to fail -- and it can't afford to risk too much in attempting to succeed.
    Last edited by BARYE; 11/23/2004 at 08:56 AM.
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