Coming Soon to Your HD Home Theater…7Gbps

The Wireless Gigabit Ethernet Alliance today came out with its first version of a standard designed to send video wirelessly around the home at transmission rates of 7 gigabits per second, or 10 times faster than what you can do using the fastest Wi-Fi out today.

Introducing…Your Next Phone!

The phone of the the not-so-distant future will be better — but not much bigger — than today’s devices. Unlike many of today’s phones, it won’t sport a keyboard, will have more radios, and will be even better able to function as a portable computer.

Ubuntu 9.10 Arrives With Cloud Storage, Better 3G Connectivity

ubuntu_oneHas it been a full release cycle for Ubuntu already? It seems like only yesterday that we saw a jackalope jaunting by, but that was back in April. Now it’s time for Karmic Koala, which is the endearing name for the just released, final version of 9.10. I’m still re-running a Windows 7 netbook battery testwithout Aero, this time — so I’m not ready to run Ubuntu 9.10 yet. I’ve got a download going for the Live CD, so while I wait for the software and my hardware, I’m perusing the press release and release notes for Karmic Koala. A few key updates look pretty handy:

  • Ubuntu One integration — Much like Dropbox and other online storage or sync solutions, Ubuntu One offers a place to stash your data. Every Ubuntu user gets a free 2GB account and the service is natively integrated within the Ubuntu file system, making it pretty seamless.
  • Improved 3G connectivity — I’ll have to try this to better understand what exactly has been improved, but this is key for mobile folks.
  • New Software Center — One-stop shopping for software is always nice, especially when there’s a button for Free Software as well. This takes the place of Add/Remove in the Applications menu.
  • New Kernel Mode Setting — By default on Intel hardware, this “reduces boot-time flickering and dramatically speeds up suspend/resume.”

Has anyone installed this — or the new Netbook Remix Edition — and been wowed by any other new features?

Atheros Buys Intellon to Give Wi-Fi a Powerline Backbone

Intellon_logoAtheros, a Wi-Fi chipmaker, said today it’s agreed to buy Intellon, a maker of chips that turn the home’s electrical network into a conduit for broadband, for $244 million. While most of us use Wi-Fi for our home network, it needs a stronger — and more reliable — wired infrastructure to aggregate and move the ever-increasing amount of HD video streams, music and telephony around. Which is why Atheros CEO Craig Barratt, while discussing his company’s proposed acquisition of Intellon on a call with financial analysts, described powerline networking technology as the backbone of the home network. Read More about Atheros Buys Intellon to Give Wi-Fi a Powerline Backbone

Live-Streaming Grief: Saying Goodbye to Michael Jackson

[show=michaeljackson size=large]I’ve always been of the belief that a memorial service is not for the person who passed away, but for those left behind. Which is why I don’t think there’s anything wrong with today’s epic celebration of Michael Jackson’s life and work; it’s been almost two weeks since his passing, and even if you think you’re over it, millions of people aren’t.

Like any memorial service, this one was full of complicated but heartfelt emotion. There were moments that genuinely felt like the best sort of memorial, such as Berry Gordy’s speech, full of recollections about family baseball games and 10-year-old Michael out-Smokey-ing Smokey Robinson. “It was magic,” he said of seeing the Moonwalk for the first time. And Brooke Shields, who was actually a friend, made me tear up when she talked about Jackson laughing.

If you were wondering why this memorial was two hours long, that’s because everyone got a voice — Al Sharpton busted some rhymes before telling Jackson’s children that “there was nothing strange about your daddy; it was strange what your daddy had to deal with.” Queen Latifah acknowledged the 16,000 fans gathered in Staples Center, speaking to them as their representative and reflecting on her first Jackson 5 album purchase before reading an original poem for the occasion written by Maya Angelou. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee reminded us that just because Jackson dealt with many allegations of child abuse during his lifetime, he was innocent until proven guilty — then revealed House Resolution No. 166 to honor Jackson as an American hero. The feed cut to the Jackson brothers, who seemed genuinely moved. That was a nice moment. Read More about Live-Streaming Grief: Saying Goodbye to Michael Jackson

The Battle for the Home Network Pits PCs Against Set-top Boxes

[qi:032] The other night I watched “Corpse Bride.” The Tim Burton flick was streamed from Netflix via my Time Warner broadband subscription, though my Linksys router to my Roku box, and from there through an HDMI cable to my television. But I could have watched a different movie on my TV using Time Warner’s video-on-demand service, sent through the set-top box provided by my cable company.

A few years back I couldn’t get movies delivered on demand, unless it was through my cable provider. But now services like Netflix — or better yet, Amazon — provide me with high-definition versions of new releases streamed via my Roku box for about as much as it costs through Time Warner or as part of a trip to the closest Blockbuster. In other words, my PC has become — as it has for so many others — the gateway to much of my entertainment. And that trend is worrying service providers, which don’t want to see their customers switch from paying for a triple-play package of voice, video and data to just data. Read More about The Battle for the Home Network Pits PCs Against Set-top Boxes

After CDMA, Qualcomm Looks for New Money Machines

Qualcomm's mirasol MEMS

Qualcomm's mirasol MEMS

Qualcomm (s qcom) today announced the opening of a factory to make its mirasol displays, and a Wi-Fi chip designed for home networking — both efforts to keep the company a top chipmaker even as carriers migrate from the CDMA technology that provides so much of its profits. CDMA royalties aren’t going to disappear anytime soon, but Qualcomm needs to find new markets for its chips that don’t ride the 3G wireless gravy train. Hence, its push into mobile television with MediaFLO, the creation of its Gobi platform, displays and now, home networking. Read More about After CDMA, Qualcomm Looks for New Money Machines

WiGig Alliance to Push 6 Gbps Wireless in the Home

wigigA group of big-name technology companies including Intel (s INTC), Dell (s DELL), Broadcom (s BRCM) and Marvell (s MRVL) have joined together to promote a new wireless standard that could deliver between 1 gigabit per second to 6 Gbps inside the home. Chipmaking startup Wilocity is also part of the effort.

The Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) Alliance plans to use the 60 GHz spectrum, already in use for other types of high-data-rate wireless transmissions, for a variety of functions such as replacing the HDMI cable between a TV and a computer. Other options include delivering wireless gaming and home storage networking. The specification for the standard should be set by the end of this year, and devices containing the chips could be sold as early as 2010. Read More about WiGig Alliance to Push 6 Gbps Wireless in the Home

Semiconductor Forecasts Predict Cheaper Gadgets Ahead

wo industry analyst firms issued revised semiconductor sales forecasts today that illustrate the poor economy’s affect on the semiconductor value chain, with one from Gartner shaving $25.5 billion off sales of chips in the coming year. That’s gonna sting, even when the revised total is still $$282.2 billion in sales for 2009. The other was a report from IDC will lower its PC-chip shipment forecast for next year.