Ford revealed today that it has hit a critical milestone in the connected car world: the automaker has produced 10 million Sync-equipped vehicles since launching the technology just six years ago. Calling every Sync vehicle connected is a bit of stretch, since in its most basic form it’s essentially a voice command and control system. But Ford has been adding features to Sync over the years, allowing it to integrate with apps on those smartphones. Sync is also becoming standard across most of Ford’s vehicle lines. Since January of 2012, Sync has arrived in 6 million cars.
Mobile retail app developer Shopkick is selling iBeacon devices to businesses that will let them track and interact with customers as they move throughout their stores. Macy’s is its first trial partner. Read more »
New tweaks to Qualcomm’s silicon designs have produced not only a mobile processor capable of supporting Ultra HD, but also a baseband chip that can tap into the world’s fastest networks. Read more »
A political fight is brewing between local politicians and the mobile carriers about whether every phone should include a kill switch. The wrong people are having the argument. Read more »
Verizon Wireless unveiled its new destination store concept on Tuesday in the Mall of America in Minneapolis, showing off a massive floorspace more akin to an Apple store than a carrier’s usually cramped retail accommodations. What’s most striking about the new format is how phones take a backseat to a variety of internet of things gadgets and peripherals on display. Verizon EVP and COO Marni Walden said the new stores are meant to highlight all the objects and apps its network can connect both directly and indirectly. Verizon will be opening up several more of them starting in Chicago (perhaps not coincidentally where AT&T’s first showcase store is located).
T-Mobile has been ferreting a lot of cash under the mattress in preparation for the day it can pounce on new mobile broadband airwaves. It raised $1.8 billion through a stock sale last week, and on Monday it filed the paperwork for a bond sale, which could add an additional $2 billion to its coffers. According to the Wall Street Journal, T-Mobile is considering using the new funds for a spectrum buy from another company. There’s not much loose 4G spectrum in the market these days, but the most likely targets are the 700 MHz licenses Verizon Wireless agreed to shed when it bought up the cable companies airwaves.
FreedomPop is broadening the scope of its all-IP voice and messaging beta program, allowing customers to activate Sprint Android phones on its network. As with its other services, customers can sign up for a free plan. Read more »
Though eBay is buying Braintree to make PayPal more relevant in mobile, PayPal is showing it has plenty of game in the new smartphone-driven economy. The deal makes PayPal an Uber payment option on two continents. Read more »
Tablets prices have gone down, but adding cellular to your slate will still cost you a big premium. Thanks to some savvy radio choices, though, Verizon has kept the Ellipsis’s price low without sacrificing connectivity. Read more »
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says his pressure tactics on the mobile industry over phone unlocking was not an isolated incident. He’d rather set policy through industry consent, but he says he’s not afraid to regulate. Read more »
TapTap-creator Woodenshark is one of several startups aiming to turn the connected wristband from a mere recorder of activity into a device that can communicate and control other apps through gesture and touch. Read more »
Despite the mobile industry’s focus on mobile data, voice has long been the primary revenue driver for carriers. That’s set to change this quarter. Read more »
Google is removing the velvet ropes from its white spaces database in the U.S. Any device maker can now search their locales for unused TV frequencies and stake a claim on those airwaves. Read more »
Coin isn’t trying to replace the physical wallet with a digital one. Instead it’s trying to reduce all of the credit, debit, gift and loyalty cards that clutter up our wallets to a single piece of plastic. Read more »
Three laps around around the world will mean the balloons need to stay aloft for 100 days. According to Google materials engineers, that’s a much more difficult task than you might think. Read more »
Square is leveling the playing field for merchants who take their credit cards over the phone rather than swipe them with Reader. Instead of waiting a month to get paid, they’ll only wait 1-2 days. Read more »
Sprint’s no longer interested in bidding on a block of airwaves that would double the capacity of its LTE network. Instead its looking for greener pastures in which to build its future 4G bandwidth. Read more »
After testing the connected collar tag on my two dogs, I’m convinced Whistle has created something special. Whistle provides useful and engrossing data on a dog’s daily activity, and it’s only going to get better. Read more »
Seattle is asking its police department if it could use a new municipal Wi-Fi network to track its citizens. The short answer is yes, but the information it could collect is information we’re freely sharing. Read more »
Smartphones will expand rapidly into the developing world, according to Ericsson, not only because devices will become cheaper. Cheaper data plan options and the economic benefits of mobile internet connectivity will help drive their proliferation. Read more »
Boingo’s acquisition of military base ISP Endeka appears to paying dividends. Boingo revealed this week that it has won contracts with the U.S. Marines Corps, Army and Air Force to install IPTV and broadband access networks on their posts and bases in the U.S. and some overseas installations, using a combination of fiber and point-to-point wireless technology. Soldiers and officers who subscribe to the on-base services will also get free access to Boingo’s global Wi-Fi hotspot network.
Though not exactly subtle, Phone Halo’s new Glasses TrackR could be a godsend for people constantly leaving their glasses in cabs, cafes and airplanes. Using Bluetooth it alerts you when you depart without your eyewear. Read more »
Gogo will release an app next year that will route phone calls and texts over its inflight Wi-Fi networks, even when planes are above clouds. Calls on domestic flights, however, will probably still be prohibited. Read more »
AT&T is tapping into spectrum formerly reserved for voice and 3G data services to put more oomph into its LTE network. It won’t make its 4G service faster, but it will certainly make it better. Read more »
Mavenir Systems makes telecom infrastructure, which isn’t quite as sexy as social media, but nonetheless Mavenir went public the same day as Twitter, raising $55 million to fund its VoLTE technology. Read more »
Lookout’s mobile threat-protection app has now landed on the Android phones of three of the four major U.S. carriers. Read more »
AT&T’s LTE network is now in in 461 markets, 39 shy of Verizon’s. It probably won’t finish the year matching Verizon’s network footprint, but it will get close. Read more »
In the past it was difficult for companies to leave the confines of their chosen medium, but not now. Behance co-founder Scott Belsky believes companies should be constrained by their missions, not the media they work in. Read more »
Cisco Systems and high-capacity wireless chipmaker Wilocity revealed on Wednesday they have started working together to develop 60 GHz enterprise networking products that could support massive transmission speeds of 5 Gbps. The new technology is based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) 802.11ad standard for ultra-fast in-building networks and will eventually be certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance under the name WiGig. Cisco Enterprise Networking Group CTO Bob Friday said that Cisco has made a minor strategic investment in Wilocity, but the companies are not revealing the amount.
Just as you would share a Glympse with friends of your location on the highway, you will soon be to share a Glympse of your flight’s position in the sky. Read more »
Karma is building a community of mobile broadband users who share their connections without sharing their data. It’s attracted 50,000 users so far, a number it hopes to boost as it moves to Sprint’s LTE network. Read more »
LA is putting out an ambitious proposal to build a city-wide gigabit fiber network — perhaps too ambitious. It would require the network provider to not only absorb all costs but deliver a free baseline service. Read more »
Creating hardware not only means raising more funding than a typical app startup, but hiring manufacturing experts and building up infrastructure, according Nest founder Tony Fadell. Read more »
Jack Dorsey may not have known much about being a merchant when he founded Square, but he did know a lot about being a buyer. According to Dorsey, that was the perspective Square used to design Reader. Read more »
T-Mobile’s big growth third quarter was driven in part by 344,000 new MVNO connections. Those virtual subscribers are becoming and increasing chunk of T-Mobile’s business as it begins welcome more virtual operators to its network. Read more »
Eight months after bringing its first LTE tower online, T-Mobile has managed to amp up its 4G service with new spectrum. But it’s biggest upgrade will come in 2014, when it plans to double capacity again. Read more »
SpiderCloud has already established an early lead in indoor mobile networking. Now it’s hoping to extend that lead in the age of 4G networking with a small cell that can support multiple wireless technologies. Read more »
Unlike the first installment of this series, Globalstar’s sequel may have a happy ending. Globalstar’s low-power Wi-Fi plans don’t have the interference problems of LightSquared’s LTE network. The FCC also let Dish repurpose its spectrum. Read more »
If you were looking for a signal showing how cozy new Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler would be with the cable and telecom industries he used to lobby for, then Wheeler just broadcast a big one. He’s hired Public Knowledge President, CEO and founder Gigi Sohn as special counsel for external affairs on his staff. For 12 years Sohn has railed against the communications industries’ more anti-consumer actions, and while Sohn’s appointment doesn’t guarantee Wheeler will take a hard line against his former employers, it does shows he will listen to opposing perspectives as he kicks off what is sure to be a controversial tenure.
Square’s hardware lead details how Stand will be the centerpiece of a redesigned sales counter experience as it begins to work with more peripheral makers. Read more »