Feature Article

January 11, 2013

Mobility TechZone Week in Review

The latest Apps on Tap column is now available, and it has some mighty fine mobile apps reviewed. Make sure to check it out - we're sure these apps will make a real difference for you!

Here's a very interesting thing to keep in mind. Alta Devices recently revealed designs for the world’s lightest, and highest energy density, flexible military charging mats. The smallest of these chargers, which convert light into electricity, weighs just four ounces, has dimensions that are slightly larger than a sheet of paper, and can provide significant power to a soldier in the field without the need for an alternative fuel source. One can only hope we may see them in the not too far off future for home use.

NVIDIA meanwhile, has developed a wireless, Android-powered game controller dubbed Project SHIELD, which allows gamers to play both Android and PC games. Project SHIELD is a true Android mobile device, a gamer will have direct access to any and all Android games. Here's the kicker though, and what actually makes it a an honest to God wireless receiver and wireless game controller - it will stream games from any PC powered by NVIDIA's GeForce GTX GPUs that access game titles on its STEAM game library from anywhere in the home. For dedicated gamers this is a potentially very big deal.

Here's more for your inner geek: Seagate has taken a step toward making it easy for you to “take all your stuff with you” with a new storage device designed for the mobile user. The Wireless Plus is a new Wi-Fi mobile storage device, creating its own Wi-Fi network with the capacity of connecting up to eight standard devices or three HD devices. In essence, it is an external hard drive that has a small, lightweight and flexible design. Mobile devices can access the Wireless Plus using the Seagate Media app.

When we first heard about the new Firefox mobile OS we more or less suggested that it would never catch on, although we did note that ZTE might be interested in it. And sure enough, ZTE is meeting with an unnamed European wireless carrier to possibly sell Mozilla's Firefox OS-powered phones in Europe – perhaps starting sometime this year, according to news reports. The phones may also be offered in the United States, if studies suggest it would be successful there. We're still convinced it won't go anywhere, but ZTE will give it a shot.

But here is something we truly want to believe in: credit. He understands who, when and where -- and in front of whom -- to present a major initiative. This week the subject was freeing up spectrum for ultra high-speed Wi-Fi for public spaces where service tends to be either non-existent or painfully slow. The place was the International CES Show in Les Vegas.

During his now-annual interview at CES with Gary Shapiro, the president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski revealed to the audience that the FCC wants to free up 35 percent more unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz band beginning in February! Simultaneously, back in Washington, D.C., FCC press people were supplying online cover with a release highlighting some of the details. We can only hope this pans out.

We'll wrap up this week's review by acknowledging that Nokia had a pretty darn good fiscal Q4 2012. In fact it preannounced this week sold a healthy number of its latest Lumia smartphones and it appears that it will deliver some solid financial news when it formally announces its earnings in several weeks. And we'll also acknowledge that the latest and greatest version of Android, Jelly Bean, now sits on at least ten percent of all Android devices. It's about time.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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