I apologize for the following deluge of Wi-Fi items, but I'm catching up after Apple's major product announcement on Monday: I was in San Francisco for the day, a neat trick from Seattle, and was able to see the Wi-Fi signal at one station on BART ride from SFO to the Moscone Center in the SoMa district of San Francisco. A loaner EVDO modem from Sprint came through during my keynote note taking and reporter with a consistent Internet connection and very little battery drain on my MacBook. Here's what I missed during my trip, recovery, and catch-up these last three days.
O2 will offer iPhone 3G for free along with extensive Wi-Fi coverage: AT&T may still be sorting out how Wi-Fi service will be included in its cell plans, but O2 had already provided free Wi-Fi to supplement scanty EDGE service in the UK. The new iPhone 3G will be offered fully subsidized to subscribers of £45 or higher tariffed services, along with 9,500 hotspots through BT OpenZone and The Cloud.
SanDisk buys MusicGremlin: The innovative Wi-Fi-enabled music player was and remains far in advance of the features found in the iPod touch, iPhone, and Zune, but the company behind the product couldn't get a fire lit under it. Sales figures were never disclosed, but it's never been on the list of top-selling players in the market. SanDisk's acquisition will shut down the product and its music service, but it will absorb the people and technology. I met with the founders of the company many years ago, and were impressed by how far ahead they were of everyone in the industry.
Zyxel introduces VOIP-connected Wi-Fi camera: I think they threw a bunch of buzzwords into a blender, but it's rather clever. The camera connects to a network via Wi-Fi, and has SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) embedded. SIP is used for VoIP and as part of gatewaying Internet telephony. The V750W gets its own phone number, and can be controlled remotely through either a real phone using the public telephone network, or a soft phone using SIP. It's being resold, not sold to consumers directly, as a monitoring tool. It includes two-way audio. The camera can also place a phone call if an intruder monitor is tripped. Why not just give it an IP address like other such cameras? SIP, if implemented correctly, can traverse private networks' NAT (Network Address Translation) gateway limits.
Monster Cable introduces cable-replacement wireless high-def tech: It's a hilarious little story that a company known for its wires drops them. Monster will ship paired wireless high-definition streaming transmitter/receiver pairs using Sigma Designs's ultrawideband (USB) based technology. The range is estimated at 30 feet. The boxes are $300 each--and you need a pair. Would you pay $600 to cut one $50 HDMI cable? Well, neither would I, but I didn't spend $5,000 on a wall-mounted TV, either.