Clearwire’s been promising us that speedy LTE network for quite some time now. The good news is, we may have a clearer view of when to expect the waves to start flowing. During yesterday’s Q4 earnings call, CEO Erik Prusch said his company plans on rolling out its LTE tides by June of next year, with the help of 5,000 wave sites around the US and a “longer-term” plan of adding about 3,000 more. The 2.5GHz spectrum will take over the WiMAX regime you’ve grown to love, and while we’re still many handsets and slates away from testing it out, it’s something all you Now Network users can happily look forward to.
In Insert Coin, we look at an exciting new tech project that requires funding before it can hit production. If you’d like to pitch a project, please send us a tip with “Insert Coin” as the subject line.
We love the snooze button as much as everyone else. But we’ve all postponed exiting the comfort of our Tempur-Pedic one too many times. Enter the Ramos alarm clock, a rise-and-shine solution that integrates a Defuse Panel in order to silence your wake-up call. Don’t expect to stay in bed to enter the code either, as the keypad can be wirelessly situated in another room to prevent further slumber. Two time keeping options, LED and Nixie models, await your minimum pledges of $160 and $350 before the April 1st deadline. The latter features a nixie tube display that will put any regular ol’ alarm clock’s digits to shame. You can spring for a long-range kit if you need to place your key panel more than 50 feet away from your nightstand. If you’re feeling extra generous, a pledge of more than $800 will allow you to select the type of wood used for your Ramos. In need of a bit more convincing? Peep the video on the other side of the break for a closer look.
Need another reason to cough up for that PS Vita? Well, Sony’s attempting to sweeten the pot for existing PS3 owners with the launch of a promotional lure that’ll make a trio of titles available for cross-platform play. Yes, that portable-to-console bridge has been attempted before and though it’s always reeked more of gimmick than true killer feature, that’s not stopping the electronics juggernaut from giving it the ol’ college try. Gamers that download either Hustle Kings, WipEout 2048 or Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 on the PlayStation Store will be able to transfer and play that content on both devices for the price of one. If you currently claim any of the above as your own, not to worry, you’ll still be able to take part in the company’s pan-PS content share. So, are you red E? Then hit up the source below for the extended deets.
The National Cable Telecommunications Association and Boxee don’t see eye to eye on whether or not ClearQAM is good or bad for us. Boxee argues that encrypting even those channels free and clear via an antenna, as a few cable companies have requested permission from the FCC to do, will increase your bill and limit competition. The NCTA alternatively claims that eliminating ClearQAM will enable self installs, thus reducing costs and truck rolls, because the coax outside your house will no longer need to be disconnected when you cancel service, and that Boxee should just adopt CableCARD if it wants the Boxee Box to access live cable TV — of course most anyone who has had a CableCARD setup knows that a simple truck roll to connect a cable outside is child’s play. While this struggle has played out in public with FCC filings, social media and blog posts, we all just fondly remember a day when setting up a TV was as simple as connecting a single coax cable and running a channel scan. Of course, it would be nice if the FCC would actually force more QAM to be sent in the clear and require accurate PSIP data while it’s at it, but we gave up on that dream years ago.
Mozilla surprised us last summer when it announced plans for its Boot to Gecko mobile OS. Now, it looks like the project has some industry support, with CTO Brenden Eich tweeting that the company will make a partner announcement at MWC this month. There are no details right now as to who might be involved, but given that developer support is already there (the operating system is based on existing web standards, after all), the hopes are that this could indicate vital operator, or even hardware manufacturer backing. Another encouraging development is the first sighting of the platform’s Gaia UI, further suggesting the project might well meet its planned Q2 release target. It doesn’t stray too far from the Android / iOS model that we’re already familiar with, but give the source link a swipe if you want to see more.
Where are Lone Starr and Barf when you need’em? Would that those two (fictional) interstellar handymen-for-hire were real, space agencies like Switzerland’s own, could outsource the tricky and costly intergalactic housekeeping that’s fast becoming a high-priority. Instead, the famously neutral country is investing 10 million Swiss francs (about $10.8 million USD) into the production of a new breed of satellites dedicated to the collection and destruction of orbital debris. The project, dubbed CleanSpace One, will tackle one of two Swiss-borne, celestial objects — the SwissCube or Tiasat — for its initial mission, slated for some time within the next three to five years. While our very own NASA has proposed the use of a laser to redirect these non-operational and potentially hazardous craft, the brains over at EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute for Technology) are in the process of developing a micro-electric propulsion system, in addition to a retrieval mechanism for the unit. So, what’ll happen to both this outer space Rosie and her doomed cargo? Well, rather unfortunately, it’s a suicide mission, as both are destined for burn-up on re-entry. Yes, it’s a rather grim end to an otherwise noble voyage, but such is the price of our scientific spring cleaning.
NASA can’t just park up in the middle of space and rely on Robotnaut 2 for its entertainment. Actually, it probably can, but at some point the urge to explore new worlds will become too strong to resist. That’s when it’ll need a suborbital rocket guidance system like the GENIE (“Guidance Embedded Navigator Integration Environment”), which transforms a flood of sensory data into reliable and autonomous maneuvers. Fortunately, the system’s economics make a whole lot more sense than its name, which is why NASA is depending on technology like this to control the next generation of affordable and reusable space craft. The test flight shown after the break can only boost GENIE’s chances: it took a Xombie rocket up to 160 feet and then made it fly laterally for another 160 feet before landing with a degree of swagger that makes the previous flight in 2010 look plain rickety.
Welcome to IRL, an ongoing feature where we talk about the gadgets, apps and toys we’re using in real life and take a second look at products that already got the formal review treatment.
Of this week’s IRL contributors, two have already tried out that replacement for iChat. For the purposes of this column, though, all three are waxing on about something very old, at least by early adopter standards. For starters, James still get the warm-and-fuzzies holding his Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, despite its crawling page load times. Joe, our resident audio guru, explains why he tosses a reference to Bowers Wilkins’ P5 into almost every one of his headphone reviews. And the object of Mat’s affection — a laptop skin — slipped under our radar when it came out over a year ago. So is James actually still using that N800? What’s Joe’s obsession with BW? And why would anyone spend $50 on a notebook prophylactic? Read on to find out.
By now, you’ve seen all that RIM’s 2.0 software update for the PlayBook is prepared to give — just not in your own hands. But that could all very well change if news of a February 21st release date, supposedly confirmed by the lips of Waterloo’s own during an early morning webcast, prove true. According to BerryReview‘s sources, the roll out is purportedly scheduled for next Tuesday, falling neatly in line with earlier reports that it would hit users’ slates sometime later this month. So, if you’ve been clinging to that understated tab and looking forward to an OS-future populated by a native email client, address book, BlackBerry Bridge enhancements and social networking integration, well, it appears your dreams are about to come true.
Update: Looks like the reports were too good to be true. A rep from RIM has clarified that while no specific date has yet been announced, the 2.0 update is still on track for a February release.
Looks like that Google approval’s taking a little longer than expected. ASUS just announced that the Android 4.0 update for its first Transformer tablet now likely to land between now and next month. We’ve just inched over the mid-February deadline last offered up by the company and this new, vaguer release date arrives from ASUS’s Singapore arm. The Ice Cream Sandwich-flavored refresh will be sent over-the-air; that is, when it finally arrives on the keyboard-courting slab.