Chicago -- The future of wireless communication may have its start this year in Chicago, industry observers said.
The service known as WiMax can roll television broadcasts, phone service, Internet connections and other data transmissions into one high-speed pipeline.
WiMax was given a corporate push Wednesday, when Sprint Nextel Corp. and Clearwire Corp, put together a $14.5 billion partnership involving $3.2 billion in investments from Google Inc., Comcast Corp., Intel and Time Cable Inc.
Regional tests of the system could begin in Chicago, Baltimore and Washington by year's end, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.
Chicago may see WiMax first as it is close to the home of equipment supplier Motorola Inc., the newspaper said. Clearwire expects the system could go national by 2010.
You don't even have to read beyond the headline of wireless chipmaker RF Micro Devices ' (Nasdaq: RFMD) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report to see that things haven't been getting better lately. Last quarter, my investing antennae snapped to attention when the report opened with the announcement of a stock buyback. This time, news of a significant restructuring at the company sent my warning sensors into overdrive.
Cambridge, Mass. -- A team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology students are building a prototype power concentrator that they say might revolutionize the solar energy field.
Led by MIT mechanical engineering graduate student Spencer Ahrens, the team is assembling a 12-foot-square mirrored dish capable of concentrating sunlight by a factor of 1,000. But it's being built from simple, inexpensive industrial materials selected for price, durability and ease of assembly rather than for optimum performance.
Ahrens said the goal is to make a dish that, in mass production, can be competitive in cost with other energy sources and produce heat for space heating and electric power at the same time.
"The technical challenge here is to make it simple," Ahrens said. "We're using all commodity materials that are all in high production."
Overland Park, Kan. -- U.S. telecommunications giant Sprint Nextel and Internet service Clearwire are close to announcing a joint WiMax venture, sources said Wednesday.
The project of creating a high-speed wireless Internet service for cell phones and laptop computers is valued at about $12 billion, The Washington Post reported.
Internet and telecommunications giants Google, Intel, Time Warner and Comcast are providing $3.2 billion to get the venture on its feet, the report said.
Sprint would own 51 percent of the business, which would be run by Clearwire's Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Wolff, the source said.
The new company will be called Clearwire and have its headquarters in Kirkland, Wash., the source said.
The companies may announce the deal this week, the Post reported.
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) was bold enough to walk out on Microhoo. Will it be brave enough to bail on its Zune, as well?
No, Mr. Softy isn't ready to throw in the towel on its portable media player just yet. The company has recently started selling television show episodes and broadened the social-sharing functionality of the devices.
Atlanta -- U.S. scientists say they've designed a system capable of simultaneously measuring and testing hundreds of radio frequency identification tags.
The new system allows the measurement of the signal strength of tags hidden behind other tags, said Georgia Institute of Technology Assistant Professor Gregory Durgin, who led the research.
RFID tags are used for applications that include inventory management, toll collection and airport luggage security.
The tag absorbs some radio frequency energy from a reader signal and reflects it as a return signal, delivering information from the tag's memory.
If several RFID tags are in the vicinity of a reader, the reader usually communicates with the tag transmitting the most powerful signal first and then puts it to "sleep" to prevent it from transmitting repeatedly. Then the reader moves to the next most powerful signal. This process can be very time-consuming.
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