Wireless Web Digest: Verizon Brings WiFi to Pay Phones

Topping this week's edition of the Supersite's Web Digest: Research firm IDC reports that handset sales are up 16.6 percent in the first quarter of 2003 compared to the same period a year ago, while sales of "smartphone," devices were up 438 per

Wireless News Handset Sales on the Rise, Smart Phones Soar

Handset manufacturers enjoyed healthy sales during the first quarter of 2003, according to a report from IDC. Sales of converged voice and data devices were particularly strong. According to IDC, global handset shipments grew by 16.6 percent compared with the year-ago period, reaching 107.6 million units. Sales of converged, or "smartphone," devices, a relatively new category, were up 438 percent over the first quarter of 2002, totaling 1.7 million units. The addition of color screens, digital cameras and a plethora of new applications and functions are driving the market. "Virtually all of the major handset manufacturers introduced new models during the quarter, and consumers are being drawn to upgrade their phones," said IDC research analyst Ross Sealfon.

Read the full story on: Wireless NewsFactor

Tapwave Prepares Mobile Gaming Handheld

Tapwave came out of stealth mode last week, revealing some details of its forthcoming mobile gaming handheld device that will be released for sale in the United States by the end of the year. Made up of former Palm executives, Tapwave will release a handheld device thats designed primarily for gaming, but also features personal information management tools, audio and video players, and even a word processor. The device is known only by its code name, Helix, and features a backlit 3.8-inch screen in a package that weighs less than six ounces (168 grams). Bluetooth will be included with the product to enable 8 players to engage in multiplayer games wirelessly. Users will be able to plug in Wi-Fi cards, digital cameras, or memory cards through SD (secure digital) slots.

Read the full story on: GamePro.com

Verizon to Offer Wireless Web Link Via Pay Phones

Verizon Communications plans to announce this week that it will equip some of its more than 300,000 public telephones with the ability to offer wireless access to the Internet. Sources familiar with Verizons efforts said the wireless Internet connections, commonly known as WiFi hotspots, will be added to public telephones in high-traffic areas such as hotel lobbies and airports. Verizon officials declined to comment on their wireless Internet strategy, or to say how much the new service would cost.

Read the full story on: TechNews.com

More Bravado from Vivato Wireless Bridge-Router

Wireless switch vendor Vivato unveiled what it calls a wireless bridge/router thats designed to extend the reach of its beam-shaping switches. The recently announced Vivato switches combine the features of a switch and a wireless 802.11b access point in one yard-wide panel, usually mounted near the top of a ceiling or on a roof. The products use phased-array antennas to create three narrow radio beams, which play over all of the wireless LAN clients in a particular area. Vivato said that one such device can play these beams over much longer distances than rival access points, because of the antenna technology.

Read the full story on: Network World Fusion

Cell Phones Still Pose Flight Risks

Airlines should continue their ban on the use of mobile phones on board aircraft because of possible interference with navigation and communication equipment, according to a study published Friday by the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority. A series of tests exposing a set of aircraft avionic systems to simulated cell phone transmissions revealed various adverse effects on the equipments performance, CAA said in a statement. Although the equipment allowed a margin above the "original certification criteria for interference susceptibility," the margin wasnt sufficient to protect against potential cell phone interference under worst-case conditions, the authority said. From March 1996 to December 2002, CAA recorded 35 aircraft safety-related incidents that were linked to cell phones, the authority said.

Read the full story on: PCWorld.com