Archive for June, 2010
The short-lived social networking phone KIN was sort of smartphone-ish, but not smart enough apparently to keep itself alive. Microsoft has canceled the existing product’s launch later this year in Europe on news that sales weren’t as strong as expected, and is folding the Kin team into the core Windows Phone 7 team.
“We have made the decision to focus exclusively on Windows Phone 7 and we will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones.”
It’s unclear how long Verizon will continue to sell KIN phones. After all, it sure seems like the product has been disKINtinued.
Apple continues to say that all cell phones lose some signal when held in your hand. This, in fact is true. It’s the severity of that loss on the iPhone 4 that seems extreme. Now we have some numbers to bring to the argument, with a review that clearly details the issue.
While all the iPhone 4 reports normally is “bars”, as opposed raw signal strength (RSSI) in dBm, and the Field Test mode ha been removed in iOS4, Anandtech basically jailbroke the iPhone 4 so they could get a numeric readout. The results were interesting.
They compared an iPhone 4, an iPhone 3GS using iOS 4, and an HTC Nexus One. They tested under the following conditions:
- Cupping Tightly
- Holding Naturally
- On an Open Palm
- Holding Naturally Inside Case
All of the phones showed signal attenuation when held. However, the key is probably the difference between the iPhone 3GS when held normally and the iPhone 4 when held normally. The iPhone 4 exhibits signal attenuation of 19.8 db, vs. 1.9 on the 3GS. That is a huge difference.
Additionally, in terms of the iPhone 4’s signal bar display, which is all most consumers have to use, a phone will register from -51dBm, which is standing right under a tower, to -113dBm, which is where a phone will disconnect. Nearly 40% of possible range, from -51dBm to -91dBM is reported as 5 bars. This possibly shows why folks aren’t reporting a drop in signal strength; they are seeing attenuation, but the bars don’t show it.
It also shows why bars can’t be trusted in terms of signal strength.
Finally, Anandtech some sort of non conductive coating on the antennas. The alternative, they noted, would be “bumpers for all,” but Apple heavily touts its design and “bare metal” is the way they want to go; any such “bumper-fest” would be admitting a mistake.
Take a look at the full review; it’s very interesting.
The iPhone 4’s antenna problems are seemingly obvious to many consumers, although Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently said “There are no reception issues. Stay tuned.” Is it then, a coincidence that Apple posted 3 new positions for “antenna engineers” on its jobs site on June 23rd, the same day that the antenna issues started flooding in?
It could be. While enGadget noticed the three iPad/iPhone antenna engineer positions posted on June 23rd, they somehow omitted the one that showed up below it when we did a search on “antenna engineer” at Apple’s jobs site, ourselves (see above). That opening was posted in January. Still, does that make the other postings a coincidence? You be the judge.
The iPhone 4’s antenna issues seem to be exacerbated by its external antenna system. Particularly when held in the left hand, with skin bridging the gap between two antennas (shown), users have seen not just dropped signal strength, but data transfer stoppages and even dropped calls.
Apple’s official statement has been that all phones exhibit this issue when held in the hand. That is true, in fact, and can be shown by testing, but there have never been complaints about dropped calls because of holding a device.
Antenna experts have weighed in on the issue, including one who warned two weeks before the iPhone 4’s launch that the antenna system would be problematic. At this point, many believe that a fix would not be possible via software.
Meanwhile, Apple’s leaked “talking points” for its CS representatives make it clear they are sticking by their guns, and no bumpers, which seem to eliminate the issue (as would any case) will be given away free.
Maybe if they’d filled that January opening for an antenna engineer none of this would be happening. Readers, chime in.
The Cisco Cius will only weigh about 1.15 pounds, and has a smaller screen than an iPad, only 7 inches. The device is definitely aimed at the Enterprise. It will be loaded with s suite of Cisco software products, including Cisco Quad, Show and Share, WebEx, Presence and Cisco TelePresence; it also supports Unified Communications Manager.
Customer trials begin in the third quarter, but the device won’t ship until early 2011. That’s probably poor timing in terms of grabbing attention, as based on Apple’s annual cycles for product refreshes the iPad might be seeing an update then.
Still, while the iPad is more consumer-focused, the Cius is definitely aimed at the Enterprise. With integration with Cisco products, it has a real chance for corporate adoption.
Here are the specs of the Cisco Cius:
- 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, 3G/4G data and Bluetooth 3.0 help employees stay connected on and off-campus
- HD video (720p) with Cisco TelePresence solution interoperability for lifelike video communication with the simplicity of a phone call
- Virtual desktop client enables highly secure access to cloud-based business applications
- Android operating system, with access Android marketplace applications
- Collaboration applications including Cisco Quad, Cisco Show and Share, WebEx, Presence, and IM
- 7” diagonal, high-resolution color screen with contact-based touch targets
- HD Soundstation supports Bluetooth and USB peripherals, 10/100/1000 wired connectivity and a handset option
- Detachable and serviceable 8-hour battery for a full day of work
- Highly secure remote connections with Cisco AnyConnect Security VPN Client
- HD audio with wideband support (tablet, HD Soundstation)