Wireless Web Digest: The SIMs Online

In this edition of the Supersite's Web Digest, smart card giant Gemplus announces it will have a new SIM card that can roam between Wi-Fi and GSM networks, Plus, much more on handsets, Verizon's latest small business initiative, and some early observation

China Faces Oversupply of CDMA Handsets

An oversupply of CDMA handsets in China is likely to erupt this year as Nokia, Motorola and several South Korean handset makers scramble to ramp up production to further penetrate the worlds largest mobile phone market. It is estimated that domestic handset demand in China will reach about 65 million units this year, of which 15 million units will be CDMA handsets. China Unicom, the countrys largest CDMA mobile phone service provider, had 7.17 million CDMA subscribers as of the end of last year and is expected to add 13 million CDMA subscribers this year, according to a Bloomberg report.

Read the full story on: DigiTimes

Verizon Pitches WLANs to Small Businesses

Verizon on Friday said it is expanding its wireless LAN service to new locations in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. The company launched its WLAN product in the Boston area late last fall. Small businesses can purchase the Wi-Fi-based product as a stand-alone service, or they can integrate it with network transport services such as T1, ATM and frame relay, according to Verizon. The carrier said it will design and install the customers networks, using Proxim ORiNOCO 802.11a/b WLAN equipment, as well as provide technical support.

Read the full story on: CRN

Hagiwara to Introduce Wireless Cards Based on Memory Stick and SD Technology

Hagiwara Sys-Com announced that it will introduce wireless cards based on Memory Stick and Secure Digital technology. The Japanese flash card maker is expected to introduce both Bluetooth and 802.11b Memory Stick and SD cards in the third quarter of this year. Combo products that serve as both wireless cards and memory could be released as early as the fourth quarter of this year, said Bill Chen, vice president of Hagiwara Sys-Com Asia.

Read the full story on: DigiTimes

Standard Roams the Wi-Fi, Cellular Range

Gemplus announced Thursday that it is working with Transat Technologies on including Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) technology in its smart cards, making it one of the first companies to develop the standard for devices that will roam between Wi-Fi and cell phone networks. Smart cards, found behind the batteries of cell phones, store a subscribers account and billing information. EAP technology will likely be used mostly in offices or other professional environments that rely more heavily on secured networks, Philippe Martineau, a Gemplus vice president, said. The goal of both companies is to make it easier for someone to roam between Wi-Fi and GSM networks and get just one bill for the usages.

Read the full story on: CNET News.com

Taiwan WLAN Chip Suppliers Gain Increasing Market Share

Taiwan-based WLAN chip suppliers are gaining market share as more foreign vendors opt for their chip solutions. According to a DigiTimes report, 802.11b chips from Taiwan-based Realtek Semiconductor can be found in WLAN cards sold by Linksys, the largest WLAN equipment vendor in North America. Taiwan-based network equipment maker Global Sun Technology will produce these cards for Linksys, the report said. Another US-based WLAN equipment vendor, Belkin Components, is also said to be launching 802.11b USB cards using Realteks chips this quarter, sources added.

Read the full story on: DigiTimes

McDonalds Adds Wi-Fi to Menu, but Theres Little Appetite

Ten McDonalds restaurants in Manhattan are offering customers WiFi with their fries in a three-month experiment that will expand to several hundred restaurants by the end of the year, including Chicago and a yet-to-be-named city in California. But despite its new effort to get customers to "eat in, carry out or log-on," the hamburger giant will have to do more to publicize its embrace of the latest high-tech trend. Walk into any of the midtown Manhattan McDonalds currently offering free WiFi access, and its tough to find any takers. At noon one day last week, the only person using a laptop at the 57th Street McDonalds was Michael Vitiello, an IBM Global Services consultant who helped install the restaurants wireless access point. "Its a new business model obviously, but its a convenience," said Vitiello, who was checking National Public Radio reports about the war in Iraq.

Read the full story on: Mercury News