Today’s topics include major tech companies’ opposition to Verizon’s plans to access unused wireless spectrum for WiFi calling services, Mozilla’s extension of Firefox content-blocking protection on Apple iOS, Motorola’s introduction of the Moto 360 Sport Smartwatch, and the launch of object storage on IBM’s Bluemix.
Verizon is planning to use an unlicensed portion of the nation’s electromagnetic spectrum for WiFi calling services for its customers. However, the plan is drawing opposition from some major technology players, who argue that it will cause interference with existing WiFi systems.
According to a Dec. 3 story by Bloomberg, Google, Microsoft and Comcast, have filed a claim with the Federal Communications Commission that raises concerns about the planned practice.
Verizon argues that the WiFi service would help clear cellular congestion and keep the Internet working at top speed as data use climbs ever higher.
Mozilla’s recent Firefox 42 Web browser release included a new tracking protection feature. Now Mozilla is extending its protections even further with the new Focus by Firefox app, which is available now in the Apple App Store as a free content blocker for iOS 9 users running the Safari Web browser.
Focus by Firefox is also about improving mobile performance. According to Nick Nguyen, Mozilla vice president for Firefox, their goal is not to kill ads but to empower users on the mobile Web.
Motorola’s latest smartwatch, the Moto 360 Sport, includes built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, a music player and a new hybrid display that is easier to read in bright sunlight and in normal room light.
The $299 Moto 360 Sport, which will be available online in the United States starting Jan. 7, will also be available through Best Buy stores and Motorola’s Chicago-based Moto Shop on Jan. 10, according to the company.
A key feature of the Moto 360 Sport is that it can be used while running or walking without the need to also carry a smartphone to control it.
IBM has announced IBM Object Storage, an IBM Cloud service that enables developers to interactively build object storage into their apps.
This service provides app developers with a scalable, API-accessible platform to store and retrieve unstructured data, as well as build apps around this content. Available in beta on Bluemix, Object Storage also enables developers to access data from external apps.