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Cellphones Handhelds Wireless Networking

Innovators Shine At CTIA Wireless Conference 29

Posted by Soulskill
from the must-be-all-those-bubbles dept.
CWmike writes "The CTIA Wireless conference this week brought in larger crowds and more vendors than last year's event, but that probably isn't saying much, considering the recession had begun to hit hard in early 2009, Matt Hamblen reports from Vegas. The uptick pleased vendors exhibiting at the event, especially some of the smaller, lesser-known companies that sometimes offer the most interesting products, even if they never go gangbusters with the public. Matt highlights top innovative firms and products from the show, including W PhoneWatch (yes, a GSM phone watch for $199; see video), AT&T's Zero Charger (ends 'vampire draw'), Connectify (turns your laptop into a hotspot), and Line2, a Wi-Fi calling app for iPhones and iPod Touches (look out cellular voice service revenues)." Android made quite a strong showing at the conference as well.
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Innovators Shine At CTIA Wireless Conference

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  • by Kenja (541830) on Friday March 26, 2010 @06:11PM (#31633312)
    Just like the last round of VOIP apps for the iPhone, AT&T said "no" so Apple pulled them from the app store sticking the developer with the rebate expenses.

    Then again, Apple has been less then consistant with the app store so far. So perhaps this one is OK while the last ones where "bad".
    • Was there anything as brilliant as the company that advertised their cell phone was unbreakable, and a reporter broke the screen in 20 seconds with the CEO standing next to him. That was hilarious.

      You practically saw the value of the company drop to zero, given how the CEO looked at the end of the interview.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      From the article it sounds like the app is basically a wifi only VOIP app. There are LOTS of those in the app store, and there always have been. Apple has apparently even decided to allow VOIP over 3G now, and some apps that do that, in the store.

      • by phrend (690126)
        It does VoIP over WiFi and 3G... and it's interface is near identical to the native iPhone apps is "replaces." I can't see how they can let Line2 stay, but not allow a Google Voice app?
        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          They might kill it for the interface all right. That was a stupid move, copying Apple's interface exactly.

  • Connectify (turns your laptop into a hotspot)

    I thought it was /. that turned my laptop into a hotspot ... oh wait, not /., p0rn.

    • by Itninja (937614)
      No, no...that's the exploding battery. Which, depending on how liberal one is with symbolism, could also be caused by pr0n.
  • Looks really, really, really tempting... but for even less I can get an unlocked HTC G1.... Hmm.. I don't wear watches anyway.
  • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday March 26, 2010 @06:23PM (#31633452) Journal

    The only way I know of cor the so-called "vampire draw" to be "100% eliminated" is through a mechanical switch. Any circuit that detects the presence of a device on the other end must necessarily draw power from somewhere, and the device sure isn't going to provide it over USB. That's a violation of the spec. AFAIK, the USB device doesn't output any signal on the wire until interrogated by the host.

    And even if you got past that somehow, you would still have some sort of trickle power available to power the power-switching circuit itself.

    So basically the only way I can imagine this working is if they did something like putting a microswitch inside the USB connector, which is fine as long as you remember to unplug the cable at night, but that's hardly any different than unplugging the charger. You're just moving the problem a little farther down.

    Am I missing something, or are these claims exaggerated somewhat?

    • by Microlith (54737)

      So basically the only way I can imagine this working is if they did something like putting a microswitch inside the USB connector, which is fine as long as you remember to unplug the cable at night, but that's hardly any different than unplugging the charger.

      Actually that's hugely different. Instead of having to take the secondary action of unplugging the charger after unplugging the phone, detaching the phone cuts the charger out completely. One action, instead of two.

      If this is what they're doing, it's pr

      • If this is what they're doing, it's pretty smart.

        And should have been made common place well over a decade ago.

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        Only if the phone has a built-in USB connector. For most phones, you have to unplug the phone from the cable and the cable from the brick, which is not significantly different from unplugging the phone from the cable and the brick from the wall.

      • I can't find a site that actually details how it works, etc. It's certainly entirely possible for a charger that is already active (power is flowing through it) to shut itself off, mechanically (a relais will do) once current draw drops below a particular level - this would make it shut itself off when the device is fully powered as well (presuming it's not using the charging power source as its main power supply while connected).

        The problem is - once it -is- shut off, you can't just connect a device again

    • Perhaps they use a wooden or stake or silver bullets or something. Or maybe they use garlic. I know! It must be solar-powered!

    • They could store some power while it's charging things and use that to turn it off. Say a big capacitor - which is holding the output at +5, with the +5 shutting things down by biasing the gate of a FET or IGBT. Nothing but leakage currents (which can be too small to measure) until the charge finally leaks away and it turns on long enough to reestablish it.

      Or it can charge its own internal battery when it's charging something else and shut down its draw for months at a time. (Of course this takes the "va

    • by Itninja (937614)
      And didn't I hear a while ago there was a move to make all phone chargers universal? Does that mean that this funtionality would eventually apply to all new phone chargers. Also, why do I care about the $0.15/yr extra I spend to keep a charger plugged into the wall....when many, many more higher juice devices have been plugged in for years (i.e. TVs, stereo systems)?
      • I calculated it out to 30 cents per year, where vampire = .5 watts (a href=http://www.itworld.com/green-it/58062/mobile-phone-chargers-are-energy-vampires>a poor rated charger) and electricity is 7 cents per kilowatt hour (what I pay). My clothes dryer uses that much electricity in an hour.
        • by Itninja (937614)
          I think my hot water tank, which certainly doesn't have to be heating water all night long, is using a couple orders of magnitude more than that.
  • Seriously, Skype already offers WiFi calls for a lot less, and works well. I used it recently overseas via free hotel WiFi and it worked great. It's a lot cheaper if you don't want a Skype in number. Vonage has a plan as well but costs a lot more. Both are Wifi only, unless you have a jailbroken iPhone. The question is will Apple allow VOIP via 3G; if so I think the current crop of VOIP apps will quickly add that feature, making Line2Talk yet another me too app without the name recognition of the bigge

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