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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Verizon Wireless EV-DO review by PC Magazine

Verizon Wireless EV-DO review by PC MagazineVerizon Wireless EV-DO
REVIEW DATE: 03.02.05

Total posts: 1

The Verizon Wireless EV-DO network is the clear leader among 3G high-speed wireless options. Already available in 32 U.S. metro areas, it's your best bet for getting the mobile Internet from anywhere at any time. It's powerful and addictive, and it's our Editors' Choice.

Slideshow | All Shots
Verizon isn't just faster than the competition; it is also way ahead in building out its network. Its impressive 32-city coverage area typically includes more than just a core city. For example: Its New York and Philadelphia coverage areas stretch out through New Jersey and nearly join in the middle, and its Washington, D.C., area extends all the way to Annapolis, Maryland. Verizon has committed to covering 150 million Americans by the end of 2005.

We used Verizon's unlimited EV-DO plan, called BroadbandAccess, to connect to our corporate network while riding on Amtrak from New York City to Philadelphia and to avoid the daily broadband charges at Las Vegas hotels. In all cases, we connected quickly and easily. BroadbandAccess can change the way you work, untethering you from traditional hot spots and poky cellular connections.
Devices that use Verizon Wireless EV-DO
• Audiovox XV-6600
• LG VX8000
• Sierra Wireless AirCard 580

Verizon's technology, properly known as CDMA 1xRTT EV-DO, opens a wide channel on an existing CDMA network just for data, which can travel at very high speeds. Verizon quotes average speeds of 300 to 500 Kbps, but the technology can theoretically reach speeds of 2.4 Mbps. EV-DO coexists with, but doesn't alter, a carrier's existing CDMA 1xRTT voice network.

UMTS, on the other hand, completely replaces older GSM systems with a new, combined voice/data system. UMTS is actually a more radical technology, but it's slower than EV-DO for data because of differences in spectrum usage and signal power management strategies.

On tests in New York, northern Virginia, and Las Vegas, we got speeds averaging 677 Kbps, with highs up to 1.1 Mbps and lows down to 216 Kbps. In other words, our slowest EV-DO connection was just about as fast as our fastest EDGE connection. We even got up to 693 Kbps on a moving train. Upload speeds were much slower, averaging 90 Kbps.

As for service plans, Verizon has very few options. The BroadbandAccess plan for PC Cards is a pricey $79.99 per month, but it's very easy to use—just pop a PC Card into your laptop. The PC Cards sell for as little as $49 with a two-year contract.

BroadbandAccess for PDAs makes you pay more up front for an expensive PDA/ phone, but costs less monthly. It currently works solely with the $549 Audiovox XV6600 PDA/phone. For $45 a month, you get unlimited Internet on your PDA or laptop, using the XV6600 as a Bluetooth or USB modem. There's one big catch: Bluetooth speeds seem to be capped around 400 Kbps, and the USB function isn't supported, so you must configure the USB modem based on hobbyist Web sites if you want a faster connection than Bluetooth offers.

V Cast, Verizon's $15-per-month consumer EV-DO service, is much less compelling than BroadbandAccess. V Cast currently comes on three phones (priced with one-year contracts): the Audiovox 8940 ($299 direct), LG VX8000 ($269), and Samsung SCH-a890 ($319). There's no e-mail, no Web browsing, no laptop connections, not even the ability to view video clips other than the ones Verizon chooses to bring you.

To its credit, V Cast includes a range of 2- to 5-minute clips from providers like CNN, Comedy Central, Fox Sports, NBC, PBS, and VH1, and about 300 new clips arrive per day. The clips are smooth and clear, the best we've seen on a phone, although talking heads sometimes lose lip sync. Still, despite the variety, we got bored with V Cast pretty quickly.

Verizon isn't the only carrier going with EV-DO. Sprint will roll out its EV-DO service later this year, and we expect Nextel to go the EV-DO route as well, now that it has merged with Sprint. Virgin Mobile, Qwest, and the new AT&T Mobile will also use EV-DO, as they're on Sprint's physical network. Sprint says its prices will be competitive with Verizon's for similar services.

If you are willing to pay, Verizon EV-DO—specifically BroadbandAccess—is the best high-speed wireless access you can currently get in the U.S. You'll be surfing speedily while the folks around you hunt for hot spots.

PC Magazine Editors' Choice: Verizon Wireless EV-DO

PC Magazine Editors' Choice: Verizon Wireless EV-DO: "1 "
Editors' Choice: Verizon Wireless EV-DO
Total posts: 1

Of the three 3G cellular networks available today, Verizon Wireless EV-DO is the only one that truly realizes the promise of widely available, high-speed wireless. With a good signal, EV-DO feels like real broadband. We tested it with the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580, also an Editors' Choice. EV-DO is available in 32 cities and many of those cities' suburbs, with a lot more locations to come in 2005. Sure, it's expensive, and we wish Verizon offered EV-DO phones that truly connected to the Internet, in addition to fully functional PDAs, PC Cards, and Internet-restricted phones. But road warriors who regularly shell out for hotel and hot spot Internet connections will see the value. And EV-DO passed our ultimate test: None of the editors we loaned a PC Card to wanted to give it back. That means Verizon Wireless EV-DO truly is an Editors' Choice.

Kyocera KPC650 review by PC Magazine

Kyocera KPC650 review by PC MagazineKyocera KPC650
REVIEW DATE: 05.06.05

Total posts: 3
Buy It Here $99.99

By Sascha Segan

How short some leaders reign. After only a few weeks, there's a new leader in the land of high-speed cellular cards: the Kyocera KPC650. Like our previous Editors' Choice, the Novatel Wireless V620, the Kyocera card uses the new Qualcomm MSM6500 chipset to squeeze the maximum possible bandwidth out of Verizon's excellent EV-DO data network. But the Kyocera card adds a swiveling antenna, which boosts its ability to capture signals.

During a week of testing in Manhattan, the KPC650 beat the Novatel V620's downlink throughput two-thirds of the time, with an average margin of 56 Kbps. It beat our baseline Verizon Wireless PC 5220 card 77 percent of the time, with an average margin of 108 Kbps. Because network conditions greatly affect these tests, it would be unfair to compare these test results with the results from earlier reviews. A better means of comparison is to test each card at the same time and in the same locations, which is what we did.

* Sierra Wireless AirCard 775
* Sierra Wireless AirCard 580
* Kyocera Passport
* Verizon Wireless PC 5220
* Wireless Without Borders: Networks for Those on the Go

Overall, the Kyocera card averaged speeds of 700 to 764 Kbps on our tests. Since we test in a wide variety of conditions, we saw results ranging from 107 Kbps to 1.23 Mbps.

Most impressively, the Kyocera card worked in areas where other cards didn't. In a stone building where our readings showed a very low -100 dBm to -108 dBm of EV-DO signal, we got a consistent, albeit slow, connection with the KPC650, whereas we saw frequent signal dropouts with the other two cards.

Since EV-DO uplink speeds are capped at 153 Kbps, we saw much less difference between the cards, but the Kyocera squeaked ahead of the other two by an average of 4 to 5 Kbps.

The KPC650 is available from Verizon for $99.99 ($50 more than the V620), with a two-year contract at $79.99 per month. It's also available from regional carrier Alltel, which is selling the card in Tampa, Cleveland, and Akron under the name "Passport" ($159.99 with a two-year contract, plus $69.99 per month for service). We haven't tested Alltel's network, though, so we can't tell you what kinds of speeds you can expect.

If you just bought a Novatel V620, don't throw it away. It's still a great wireless card. But the Kyocera KPC650 is even better, especially in low-signal areas. That makes it our new Editors' Choice—for now

Beyond Wi-Fi: Laptop Heaven but a Price - New York Times

Beyond Wi-Fi: Laptop Heaven but a Price - New York TimesJune 23, 2005
Beyond Wi-Fi: Laptop Heaven but a Price

PLENTY of technologies can get you online wirelessly these days, but there's always a catch. Wi-Fi Internet hot spots are fast and cheap, but they keep you tethered to the airport, hotel or coffee shop where the hot spot originates. A Bluetooth cellphone can get your laptop online, but at the speed of a slug. And smoke signals - well, you know. The privacy issues are a nightmare.

But for the laptop lugger with an expense account, there may be another option. It's a relatively new cellular data network called C.D.M.A. 1xEV-DO, which, as you surely knew, stands for Code Division Multiple Access Evolution-Data Only. No wonder Verizon Wireless, the earliest and largest adopter of this technology, just calls it the BroadbandAccess plan.

To get your laptop onto this very fast wonder-net, you need a special cellular card that slides into its PC-card slot. Novatel and Kyocera have recently given the blossoming EV-DO future a big thumbs-up by releasing new cellular cards for laptops running Windows (and, with a little tweaking, Mac OS X).

EV-DO offers two addictive benefits. First, it's cellular. You don't have to hunt down public hot spots; an entire metropolitan area is a hot spot.

Second, EV-DO means sheer, giddy speed. EV-DO is a so-called 3G (third-generation) network, the fruits of $1 billion in Verizon development. And when your laptop or palmtop locks onto a good signal, you can practically feel the wind in your hair.

How fast is that, exactly? Verizon claims you'll be able to download data at an average of 400 to 700 kilobits per second (kbps), which turns out to be true. That makes EV-DO at least five times as fast as the rival technology offered by Cingular and T-Mobile, called EDGE (70 to 135 kbps), and about seven times as fast as Verizon's original data network (still available), which it calls NationalAccess (60 to 80 kbps).

Yeah, but how fast is that? Who besides network geeks measures anything in kilobits per second?

A more familiar unit might be time, as in how long it might take you to download a two-megabyte attachment. On a dial-up modem, you'd wait over six minutes; Verizon's older NationalAccess service, about five minutes; the EDGE wireless network, about three minutes; and Verizon's BroadbandAccess, about 40 seconds.

In short, using BroadbandAccess (EV-DO), you feel as if you're hooked up to a cable modem, even when you're sitting on a beach, your deck or a speeding commuter train. When your signal is strong, you get Web pages in a flash, file attachments in no time and video feeds without a hiccup.

(Sending data is a different story, however. You average around 100 kbps, because these cards use the older, slower channel for uploading. "When you download a big presentation, it goes really fast," says Roger Entner, a telecom analyst at the consulting firm Ovum. "But then if you forward it to someone else, you feel as though you've hit a wall." He suspects that the wireless carriers limit upload speeds so that wireless laptops can't be used as traveling Web sites. "The wireless carriers want to avoid letting people using the card as a wireless Web server," he explains. "It kind of kills your business model.")

So in general, speed is not a problem with EV-DO. But coverage and price may be.

Verizon's high-speed wireless network now covers 32 major metropolitan areas, including biggies like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami, along with a somewhat baffling selection of smaller cities like West Palm Beach, Fla., and Madison, Wis. Verizon says that the rollout has just begun, and that by the end of this year, half the American population will be EV-DOable.

Fortunately, even when you're outside the designated cities, you can still get online. Verizon's software seamlessly switches you to its older, slower NationalAccess network, which pretty much works wherever Verizon cellphones do. There's quite a speed hit; you feel as though someone secretly swapped your cable modem for a dial-up modem. But at least you can check your e-mail without having to return to, say, West Palm Beach.

Finally, there's the little matter of price: $80 a month, a price that seems expressly designed to milk corporate business travelers. On one hand, that price gets you unlimited service, and it really is $80 a month; at this point, you're not saddled with the taxes and fees that jack up your cellphone bill. On the other hand, that price doesn't even include cellphone service. (Of course, you can always use a free program like Skype to make voice calls while you're connected - but you didn't hear it from me.)

Then again, Verizon has the playground all to itself, so it can charge whatever it wants. But wait until Sprint introduces its own EV-DO service later this year. You might not be able to pronounce "C.D.M.A. 1xEV-DO," but you can sure say "competition."

If EV-DO sounds, on balance, as though it would be a good fit, your next step is to choose a cellular card for your laptop. Verizon offers three EV-DO models to individuals: Verizon's older, slower, less-featured Audiovox card ($100), and two new ones: the Novatel V620 ($50) and Kyocera's KPC650 ($70). (A fourth card, from Sierra, is offered only to corporations.)

In general, the cards are pretty much alike. Each can automatically switch to the older NationalAccess network when necessary. Each protrudes from your laptop by over an inch, meaning that you'll probably have to eject the card each time you put the laptop back in its case.

The Novatel and Kyocera cards come with Verizon's VZAccess Manager software, a little dashboard that lets you switch among your three wireless options: BroadbandAccess (EV-DO), NationalAccess (the older, slower network with more coverage) and Wi-Fi (if your laptop is so equipped). This software isn't especially gorgeous, but it's rock solid, easy to install and filled with useful displays; one shows a graph of your connection speed, for gloating purposes. It also lets you exchange short text messages with your friends' cellphones.

(The software works only in Windows. But at - a great site for EV-DO news and instruction - Mac OS X fans can find step-by-step instructions for making these cards work in PowerBooks, too.)

Kyocera says there's quite a difference between its card and its rivals, though: its KPC650 is supposed to provide speeds up to 35 percent faster, especially in low-signal areas. Its tricks include faster circuitry, shielding from interference and a flip-out antenna that swivels in any direction. And sure enough: PC Magazine found that the Kyocera card was faster than the Novatel in two-thirds of its test locations.

My tests in downtown Tampa, Fla., which has BroadbandAccess coverage, must have fallen into that "other third" category. With the antenna in its best position, the Kyocera averaged 476 kbps, versus the Novatel's 543. (Test protocol: five runs of the bandwidth tester at Clearly, speed tests are flaky and variable, giving different numbers depending on your signal strength, which online bandwidth test page you use, and the mood of the EV-DO gods. (If you really get the bug, you can also buy an external antenna for extra speed and reception.)

But no matter which card you get, the big winner is EV-DO - or it will be, once its coverage grows and its price shrinks. Someday soon, it may even become the first completely satisfying wireless way to get online.


BBC NEWS | Technology | Websites alienate Firefox users

BBC NEWS | Technology | Websites alienate Firefox users Websites alienate Firefox users
One in 10 UK websites fail to work properly on the open source Firefox web browser, a study shows.

Some 100 leading consumer sites were assessed by web-testing firm SciVisum.

Websites that proved difficult for Firefox users to navigate included the government website and the cinema site

Firefox is an open source alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer and has proved popular since its launch in November last year.

While most people still use Microsoft's browser, Firefox is slowly making inroads.

Its share of the browser market grew to 8% in May, up from 5.59% at the beginning of the year, according to US-based analysts NetApplications.

Microsoft IE's share of the market dropped to 87.23% in May, compared to 90.31% in January.

Question of code

Of the websites that SciVisum tested, 3% were found to be turning away non Internet Explorer (IE) users and 7% of the sites included non-standard code recognised only by Microsoft's browser.

Companies who value their brand need to address browser issues immediately
Deri Jones, SciVisum
"Surprisingly, after all these years, users of standard-compliant browsers are still faced with sites that do not support their browser or with a link suggesting they download Internet Explorer," said Deri Jones, chief executive of SciVisum.

This is largely because web developers are used to testing their sites just using IE rather than so-called standards-compliant browsers, which only use code ratified by the World Wide Web consortium.

"There is a certain business logic to this as IE is the most widely used browser," said Mr Jones.

Microsoft is working on a new version of IE, largely in response to the success of Firefox.

Disabled access

"Companies who value their brand need to address browser issues immediately," said Mr Jones.

British American Tobacco
Source: SciVisum
Web developers who create code around the web standards recommended by the World Wide Web stand to gain more than just friends among the alternative browser community.

It will also make it easier for disabled people to use, said Mr Jones.

"Over time developers have begun to misuse the original standards created for the web to create websites that look great to you and I, but are confusing to a disabled person using a screen reader which needs to make sense of the content," he said.

Simplifying things by separating content from presentation will have a third benefit in that it will make it easier for sites to be picked up by search engines, he added.

Some improvements

The Odeon website, which is listed by SciVisum as one of the culprits, has already come in for criticism about how accessible the site is for disabled users.

While its opening page seemed to work fine using Firefox, testers were faced with a blank page when they tried to enter the site.

An Odeon spokesperson said: "Firefox users can enter the site and get all the information about cinema listings and screening times, just without the bells and whistles of the fancier site.

"Instead of using the Enter button, they should use the text-only version."

On the Jobcentreplus site, testers were unable to use the search facility, while gave the impression that it was broken despite the fact that it did actually work with the Firefox browser.

The British American Tobacco website hid most of its pages from Firefox users as the menu system did not show choices if visitors are not using IE.

Some sites had made improvements. Electrical retailer Powerhouse initially excluded Firefox users when it launched its new website design in May, but it has since fixed the problem.

And English Heritage no longer sends Firefox browser users to a non-graphical version of the site.

Firefox has been created by the Mozilla Foundation which was started by former browser maker Netscape back in 1998.

The group is an open source organisation which means that the creators of the browser are happy for others to play around with the core code for the program.

Firefox is proving popular because, at the moment, it has far fewer security holes than Internet Explorer and has some innovations lacking in Microsoft's program.
Story from BBC NEWS:

Pocket PC Addict > NetFront English v3.2 Version Upgrade Released

Pocket PC AddictNetFront English v3.2 Version Upgrade Released

A few eagle-eyed Addict readers pointed out to me that Access has finally released their new ENGLISH NetFront Browser v 3.2 for Pocket PC. The Japanese version has been out for awhile and we haven't heard too much about it since. There is an introductory price of $19.80 for new users and if you are upgrading it's $14.80 to upgrade from version 3.1 to 3.2.

New Features:

● Supports Pocket PC2003 and 2003SE
● Supports Flash(R)
By embedding Macromedia(R) Flash(R) Player into a Pocket PC2003 or 2003SE device, you can browse Flash contents on the device.
● Supports JavaTM
NetFront is compliant with J2METM CDC and handles "JV-Lite2 CE Edition," a Java running environment of ACCESS that supports CDC HI.
● Rapid-RenderTM
Speeds up displaying the Web page by displaying the HTML text and the hyperlinks first, and then displaying images and tables.
● Smart-Fit RenderingTM
For easy view, this function fits the Web page to the size of the PDA screen.
This function also enables you to browse general Web pages without using the horizontal scroll bar.
● Muli-Window Browsing
By selecting the tab for each window, you can open up to five windows at once and switch from one to another.