Friday Will Be FLO Day for Qualcomm

img_mediaflo_logoQualcommm’s (QCOM) MediaFLO mobile television service has the potential to reach 40 percent more people once the DTV transition occurs on Friday. The switch from analog television signals to digital television signals had been scheduled for mid-February, but concerns that a subset of the population weren’t adequately prepared for it led Washington to legislate a four-month delay. That hold-up effectively stopped Qualcomm from launching service in 15 new markets, among them San Francisco, Houston, Miami and Boston, where it owned rights to the analog spectrum being used by local television stations to transmit their signals.

But the end is in sight for Qualcomm, which has the equipment in place, the power turned on, and is ready to send more television to more places the second it has access to those radio waves once the DTV transition occures on June 12. It expects its signals to reach 200 million people, about 60 million more than it reaches today. This is a positive step for Qualcomm’s service, which has seen relatively slow adoption on mobile devices, based on outside over-the-air mobile TV viewing numbers provided by comScore. In addition to increasing its availability to more people in more cities, Qualcomm earlier this year signed an agreement to get MediaFLO on more devices. It inked a deal with Audiovox to build MediaFLO access into its in-car entertainment systems, as well as one with with ProTelevision Technologies to make devices that can attach to a cell phone, and allow that phone to receive the MediaFLO service. Together they should help Qualcomm address the limitation of having MediaFLO built into relatively few handsets. Will they be enough? Stay tuned.

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

Qualcomm Turns a Netbook Into a Smartbook

qcom2Qualcomm (s Qcom) isn’t going to cede the mobile computing market to Intel (s intc) and its success with netbooks, the CDMA powerhouse made clear today while laying out its vision of mobile computing. The vision consists of what Qualcomm is calling a smartbook. But combining the words smartphone and netbook together may be the only new thing Qualcomm is pushing here — basically it’s launching an ARM-based netbook. Read More about Qualcomm Turns a Netbook Into a Smartbook

Web Celebs Declare They Are Geeks!

It’s hard to hate too much on the Society for Geek Advancement. I’m not quite sure what or how serious the project is, but the group wants us all to embrace our inner geek while giving a little something to charity (and a lot of self-promotion to a bunch of web celebs who are certainly not starved for online attention).

It would be easier to have fun with the group if it didn’t paint geeks at some kind of tortured sub-culture. From the Society’s about page: “The reality is, while geek seems to be the new chic and is spreading its wings in the land of mainstream culture, us native geeks are still a misunderstood community.”

The Society even created an accompanying video packed with a parade of web stars like Felicia Day, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Kevin Rose waving their geek flag. Which is pretty easy, if you are them. Felicia Day starred in Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible, and signed another exclusive deal with Microsoft and Sprint to air the third season of her hit web series The Guild. Vaynerchuk is expanding his wine empire and just signed a seven-figure, 10-book deal. And Kevin Rose’s segment appears to have been shot at a second floor pool side suite at the swanky Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Yes, pity the poor geek! Especially after some in the video snidely castigate the hoi polloi for not knowing the difference between Twitter and tweet or how to pronounce meme.

But, as we said at the start of this piece, you can’t get too mad at the so-called society, especially since it (hopefully) doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it encourages people donate to the Room to Read charity, which builds libraries and schools in developing countries.

Now we just need all these geeks to gather in one place for a big song along with Quincy Jones conducting.

We are the geek
We are the nerdlington
We are the ones who actually do get paid
From this web phenomenon

Via Licensing Pushes LTE Patent Pool

Via Licensing, the group that manages patent pools for the tru2way cable standard and the Near Field Communications radio standard, yesterday issued a call for all patents related to the Long Term Evolution 4G wireless standard — the second such attempt to create an LTE patent pool. The creation of some sort of universal licensing scheme for LTEĀ could theoretically lower the costs associated with building LTE-enabled devices and the network itself. However, the primary benefit would be in offering companies who license the pool of LTE patents a way to avoid the hassle of dealing with several parties.

However, Via can’t force patent holders to play, and without a majority of solid patents with which to negotiate, its attempts will fail. Read More about Via Licensing Pushes LTE Patent Pool

Qualcomm Ends IP Feud, Will Pay Broadcom $891M

Qualcomm and Broadcom, two of the primary communications chip firms, agreed today to end their long-standing intellectual property feud, with Qualcomm agreeing to pay out $891 million to Broadcom over four years. Qualcomm (s QCOM), which owns the intellectual property related to the CDMA 3G wireless standard, has been defending itself from patent infringement claims made by Broadcom (s brcm), a key provider of silicon for Wi-Fi, GPS and Ethernet.
Under the terms of the settlement, Qualcomm will pay Broadcom $891 million in cash over a period of four years, of which $200 million will be paid in the quarter ending June 30 of this year. The agreement does not provide for any other scheduled payments between the parties.
It also appears that Broadcom won’t sue Qualcomm’s customers on the cellular side, and Qualcomm won’t sue Broadcom’s customers in the non-cellular world. This is relevant because, in 2007, Verizon (s VZ) ended up agreeing to pay a royalty fee to Broadcom after the International Trade Commission determined that Qualcomm chips used in Verizon phones violated Broadcom’s intellectual property. Under the terms of this deal it looks like Verizon Wireless, as a cellular company, could have avoided paying a double royalty to both chip firms.

Coming Soon: 2 Ways to Watch “American Idol” On the Go

The Open Mobile Video Coalition said today that it will begin broadcasting over-the-air mobile television to devices in Washington, D.C., later this summer. Also today, Qualcomm (s QCOM), which operates a competing over-the-air television technology, said it’s licensed its FLO software to ProTelevision Technologies (formerly Philips TV Test Equipment). That means Qualcomm’s MediaFLO technology could become available in more devices than the five or six cell phones that can currently receive the signal. While both announcements are big news for competing efforts in the nascent mobile television industry, the success of each venture may depend on which effort can win the rights to broadcast hot content to mobile watchers. For more, check out the post over at GigaOM.

Coming Soon: 2 Ways to Watch “American Idol” On the Go

The Open Mobile Video Coalition said today that it will begin broadcasting over-the-air mobile television to devices in Washington, D.C., later this summer. Also today, Qualcomm (s QCOM), which operates a competing over-the-air television technology, said it’s licensed its FLO software to ProTelevision Technologies (formerly Philips TV Test Equipment). That means Qualcomm’s MediaFLO technology could become available in more devices than the five or six cell phones that can currently receive the signal.
While both announcements are big news for competing efforts in the nascent mobile television industry, it hardly seems worth fighting for the current crop of mobile TV users, which is miniscule. Read More about Coming Soon: 2 Ways to Watch “American Idol” On the Go

Carriers Aim to Keep Rural Broadband Under Their Thumb

As the Federal Communications Commission tries to formulate a National Broadband plan, wireless carriers are seeking to classify their networks as an acceptable alternative to wired broadband, especially in rural areas. At the same time, those wireless carriers are also trying to convince the FCC that they don’t need to abide by principals of network neutrality. If they succeed, rural areas will be limited to wireless broadband, where carriers control what a subscriber can access on the Internet.
That means bandwidth-sucking applications such as peer-to-peer file transfers and even HD video downloads may be blocked or limited on wireless networks. There are valid technical reasons why carriers need to control such bandwidth-heavy apps over their wireless networks, but a blanket rejection of net neutrality could result in anti-competitive actions. Read More about Carriers Aim to Keep Rural Broadband Under Their Thumb

E-book reader coming from Barnes & Noble?

fictionwise-logoRumor on The Street has book retailer Barnes & Noble (s bks) getting ready to release their own electronic e-book reader to compete with Amazon’s (s amzn) Kindle. B&N is supposedly one of the companies that Verizon (s vz) recently admitted they were talking to about providing a 3G network for e-book distribution similar to the Kindle’s WhisperNet.
barnes-noble-logoThis rumor takes on a fair bit of substance when you add in B&N’s recent acquisition of Fictionwise. Fictionwise is the Ā online e-book retailer behind their own and the eReader brands. B&N thus has a complete eco-system for producing an electronic e-book reader and selling e-books in competition to Amazon. While Fictionwise’s e-book inventory is not as big as Amazon’s, B&N now has tens of thousands of e-books “in stock” should they launch a reader. I’d say this particular rumor has lots of legs underneath it, and I can’t wait to see an eReader device.