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Technology 31 Jan 2007 06:00 am

Waiting on that Vista Upgrade

Microsoft Windows Vista logo

I heard a rumor that some wizbang, new computer operating system was thrust upon the world. To celebrate Microsoft (MSFT) Windows Vista I reformatted my Dell notebook and reinstalled Windows XP.

Why didn’t I run out to a store Monday night to grab a copy at midnight? First, I’m pretty sure my desktop with only 512 MB of RAM would need an upgrade, and I know Vista would laugh at my Celeron-powered notebook with its measly 256 MB of RAM. (Hey, as weblogging and web surfing machines they both do just fine.) Second, when you upgrade an operating system you have to hope all the stuff connected to your machine will work properly with the new OS. I find it less frustrating to buy a new OS pre-loaded on a new machine. I let the computer makers mess around with initial hardware and software compatibilities. Third and most important, I want to let the geeks who get the (good) shakes when they play with the latest tech bang it around to see where the weaknesses are and what works with it. With Microsoft already planning on a service pack for Vista when I get a new computer later in the year quite a few of Vista’s bugs will have been squashed.

Technology 11 Jan 2007 12:00 am

Cisco Sues Apple over iPhone Name

Scales of Justice

Steve Jobs and Apple (APPL) aren’t perfect. They came out with an amazing device that ups the ante in the cell phone, music player, and mobile computing space only to get hit with a lawsuit by Cisco (CSCO) who owns the iPhone name:

Cisco today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against Apple, Inc., seeking to prevent Apple from infringing upon and deliberately copying and using Cisco’s registered iPhone trademark.

Cisco obtained the iPhone trademark in 2000 after completing the acquisition of Infogear, which previously owned the mark and sold iPhone products for several years. Infogear’s original filing for the trademark dates to March 20, 1996. Linksys, a division of Cisco, has been shipping a new family of iPhone products since early last year. On Dec. 18, Linksys expanded the iPhone(R) family with additional products.

“Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco’s iPhone name,” said Mark Chandler, senior vice president and general counsel, Cisco. “There is no doubt that Apple’s new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission.

John Biggs thinks nothing of it. Apple has until June to get this settled. If they can’t settle with Cisco they’ll need a new name. italk is off the list (owned by Griffin). iCall is off the list. Apple could steal iChat from itself. If Jobs wants to ditch the “i” prefix (it is getting a tad stale) he could go along the line of Apple’s notebook computers and call it the “MacPhone.” That’s my early pick.

UPDATE: Already the suit has high entertainment value. Paul Kedrosky looked through Cisco’s suit and found Apple used a front company to file an application to use the iPhone name. To make this legal battle a little muddier Kedrosky points out Apple has rights to “iPhone” in Australia, Canada, and the U.K. If you want to hear more of Cisco’s side it’s defending itself on its corporate weblog.

Read [via Engadget]

Technology 09 Jan 2007 06:45 pm

Apple Announces iPhone, Dumps “Computers” from Name

Apple iPhone

Like the monolith from 2001: a Space Odyssey the iPhone comes to change the world as we know it. Apple, Inc. (APPL) (they dumped “Computers” from the company name) announced the future of portable computing. And damn does it look good. The iPhone runs OSX, yes a PC operating system, and merges a phone, iTunes, camera, PDA, e-mail, and web browser into one sleek package. Earlier today I wrote, “But with Apple’s reputation we’ll all expect something special. A touchscreen? Wifi? A PDA? The ability to ease sectarian conflict in Iraq?” Three out of four isn’t bad. Steve Jobs and his merry band of geeks pulled it off again.

There’s plenty to like from what Apple’s website demos show. Visual voicemail where you don’t have to listen to each message sequentially is an idea that’s just common sense. Built-in sensors that know if the phone is horizontal or vertical makes the device intuitive.

There are downsides, there always are. How long will a charge last on a device doing so many things at the same time? How good will the phone quality be? Does the touchscreen work at easily as the demo? Since the iPhone runs OSX will it crash like Macs do? (Yes, they crash, just not as much as Windows boxes.) What about hackers? Does the wifi allow you to seemlessly move from a wifi hotspot to Cingular’s cell phone network without missing a beat? What will that luscious touchscreen look like after some use?

Then there’s the price. The 4GB phone will sell for $499, and the 8GB will sell for $599. There’s no word on what Cingular will charge for voice and data. That’s a pretty penny.

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Technology 09 Jan 2007 12:18 am

Apple Rumored to Announce Cell Phone

iPhone mock up (not real)

The buzz coming from today’s Macworld is Steve Jobs will announce an Apple (APPL) cell phone. Cingular, soon to be AT&T, is supposedly to be the mobile carrier. It’s hit the Wall Street Journal so if you want a rumor from somewhere other than a blog here you go. CrunchGear doesn’t buy it. Instead, they’re going with buying iTunes over Cingular phones. Hey, you can already do that; it’s called the ROKR and the RAZR. Don’t let us down, Steve.

If it is a phone an Apple phone should have iTunes and a camera inside it at the minimum as well as it looking sleek and sexy. But with Apple’s reputation we’ll all expect something special. A touchscreen? Wifi? A PDA? The ability to ease sectarian conflict in Iraq?

Read [via Engadget]

Technology 03 Jan 2007 09:40 pm

Dropping Cingular a Sign of Things to Come

Goodbye Cingular

Olga Kharif sees AT&T dropping the Cingular brand as a sign of a market shift to the tried-and-true:

For several years now, analysts have talked about how wireless is going to kill off wireline. Well, that won’t happen, says Andrew Cole, president of consultancy CSMG. This year, 2007, will be a year of convergence between wireline and wireless communications. And as services convergence happens, wireline’s use and importance for carriers will start growing again.

AT&T is a prime example of what’s to come: The company plans to offer a package of broadband and cellular service.

As these services are rolled out, I believe that wireless substitution will slow down. And we will yet think of wireline services — rebranded and souped up — as new and innovative.

Consumers want the mobility of wireless but the stability of wire. They want to take their phone with them to always be connected but don’t want dropped calls and the bandwidth limitations of wireless. Simply putting wireless and broadband (with the VOIP/Skype handset connected to it) on the same bill isn’t much of a convergence and won’t cut it. Google or Apple will come up with something if the phone companies don’t. Innovation means a smart network where the user’s handset can be used as a wireline phone at home (probably using wifi) and as a mobile phone outside the home. The user should have only one phone number with the network directing the call wherever she is. Oh, and the user wants a flat-fee, all-you-can eat plan covering voice, text messaging, and data. If AT&T “delivered” something like that we’d put up with the confusing history of wireless and never miss Cingular…not that we will anyway.

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