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While Intel bets on a form of LTE for things, Ingenu says it will build a specialized network across the US

While mobile operators often claim bragging rights to the fastest smartphone connections, another rivalry is heating up around networks that aren’t fast at all: Their claim to fame is that they don’t suck up power.

On Friday, Intel said it would work with cellular heavyweights Ericsson and Nokia to commercialize NB-LTE (Narrow-Band LTE), a variant of the latest cellular technology that uses a small amount of radio spectrum to efficiently carry small amounts of data. Also this week, low-power network specialist Ingenu said it would build a network across the U.S. within two years.

Those are just two of the systems being promoted as the perfect glue to connect the burgeoning Internet of Things. They’re vying to become the network of choice for electric meters, street lamps, pipelines and other infrastructure. By 2020, nearly 1.5 million devices will be connected to LPWA (low-power wide area) networks, Machina Research estimates. LPWA will cut the cost of IoT and make it useful for more things, Machina analyst Godfrey Chua said.

Many IoT devices still use 2G cellular networks, which carriers are gradually winding down. NB-LTE is one way to bring those clients, and many more now emerging, onto the current generation of cells.

Intel says it has a roadmap for NB-LTE chipsets to support a commercial rollout of the technology beginning next year. Nokia and Ericsson will provide the necessary upgrades to carrier networks.

NB-LTE will let current service providers use existing networks to connect IoT devices, the companies said. But there are other approaches to IoT both within and outside the LTE world. Huawei Technologies is promoting a system called Cellular IoT, the LoRa Alliance industry group backs an non-LTE technology that’s been adopted by some carriers, and startup SigFox has deployed an LPWA system across France and is now going after the U.S. market.

Ingenu claims its system allows for longer battery life in connected devices than any other network. It’s also faster than SigFox’s technology and allows for two-way communication, Ingenu CEO John Horn said.

Ingenu is a rebranding of On-Ramp Wireless, which was known for building private LPWA networks for municipalities and companies in fields like utilities and oil and gas. Its new network will be public, meaning any company or government agency that wants to use it can sign up. Ingenu will let customers pay for service in a variety of ways.

Ingenu’s network, running on unlicensed spectrum, will top out at just 600Kbps (bits per second) downstream and 100Kbps upstream, a small fraction of what LTE delivers. But it’s far faster than SigFox (about 500 bits per second in the U.S.) and will be able to serve more than 90 percent of IoT devices, Horn said.

Thanks in part to patented technologies, the network can cover as much as 200 square miles from one tower, Horn said. That will make it faster and cheaper to build than a traditional cellular network.

Ingenu says it can give enterprises more assurance with its network because it’s based on Ingenu’s own technology and built specifically for IoT. The idea is that just as carriers are phasing out 2G now, they’ll phase out 3G in a few years and eventually will replace LTE with 5G to serve speed-hungry smartphone users. IoT operates on a different time frame from the cellular business, with devices set up in the field for as long as a decade between hardware upgrades or battery replacements.

As an IoT specialist, Ingenu may look like a better bet to some enterprises, Machina’s Chua said. But that bet will only pay off if Ingenu and its still-nascent network is still in business in 10 years. The big carriers, on the other hand, are pretty sure to be around a while.

In the long run, the competition in LPWA networks is good news for enterprises that need better and cheaper IoT, Chua said. “The space is getting crowded, but crowded is good, because that’s what pushes innovation along.”

 

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McAfee software to log into Windows and websites will be available by the end of the year

Forget typing in passwords, Intel wants you to use your body to log into email and online bank accounts.

McAfee software that will use biometric technology to authenticate users will be available for download by the end of the year, said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, last week.

“Your biometrics basically eliminate the need for you to enter passwords for Windows log in and eventually all your websites ever again,” Skaugen said.

Further product details were not immediately available. But one of the major inconveniences in using PCs and tablets is remembering passwords, which biometrics can tame.

An average user has about 18 passwords and biometric authentication will make PCs easier to use, Skaugen said.

Biometric authentication isn’t new. It’s being used in Apple Pay, where fingerprint authentication helps authorize credit card payments through the iPhone or iPad. Intel has been working on multiple forms of biometric authentication through fingerprint, gesture, face and voice recognition.

McAfee is owned by Intel, and the chip maker is building smartphone, tablet and PC technology that takes advantage of the security software. Intel has also worked on biometric technology for wearable devices like SMS Audio’s BioSport In-Ear Headphones, which can measure a person’s heart rate.

Intel also wants to make PCs and tablets easier to use through wireless charging, display, docking and data transfers. Such capabilities would eliminate the need to carry power brick and cables for displays and data transfers. Such capabilities will start appearing in laptops next year with sixth-generation Core chips code-named Skylake, which will be released in the second half.

The wireless display technology will be driven by WiGig, which is faster than 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The company hopes to put its wireless charging technologies in cafes, lounges and other common gathering areas.

For now, Intel will give an early taste of wire-free computing through reference design laptops based on Skylake, which will be ready by the end of this year. The reference design laptops won’t need any USB or power ports, Skaugen said.


 

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With advances in chip technology, it’s becoming more difficult for Intel to keep up with Moore’s Law, but the company’s CEO says that remains the key baseline when it comes to adding performance and functionality to its processors.

“Our job at Intel is to make sure it lives on as long as possible,” Brian Krzanich said during a keynote at the Intel investor meeting in Santa Clara, California, Thursday.

Next year marks the 50th year anniversary of Moore’s Law, and Intel is planning to mark the event, Krzanich said.

Moore’s Law is based on an observation by Gordon Moore, who co-founded Intel in 1968, that the number of transistors that can be placed on silicon will double every two years, making it possible to improve chip performance and add new functionality. Intel has used Moore’s Law, which was offered in a 1965 paper, as a baseline to pack more transistors onto chips, and reduce their size and cost.

But with chips shrinking to the atomic level, engineers and scientists have declared that Moore’s Law has reached its last stages. Intel at the investor conference said it has packed more performance and power savings into its latest chips while achieving cost savings in line with Moore’s Law, though production and design issues caused it to veer off the path.

Intel usually releases new chips every year and implements new manufacturing processes every two years. But the company has had trouble making chips using the 14-nanometer process, which is the most advanced in the industry. It took Intel two and a half years to get the full benefits of the 14-nanometer process.

The first chips based on the 14-nm process shipped earlier this year, but yields are just starting to reach Intel’s projected expectations, compared to the previous 22-nanometer process, said Bill Holt, executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group.

Production of the first 14-nanometer chips code-named Broadwell is in a “healthy range,” though hasn’t yet recovered after initial lapses, Holt said, adding that yields will reach 22-nm levels by early 2015, Holt said.

“Our 22-nanometer technology is the highest yielding technology we’ve ever had. The bar that we’re trying to catch up to there is very high,” Holt said. “That’s essential, because if you’re going to get cost reduction [you] have to match those other parameters of your previous generation.”

But yields are still not normal for Intel, which is known for its timely execution. Problems with Broadwell production have led to delays in the release of laptops and tablets. The first Broadwell-based tablets and hybrids have just started appearing on store shelves and will be in mainstream laptops early next year.

Intel is also trying to move on from its initial struggles with 14-nm and is looking forward. The company brushed Broadwell aside at the recent Intel Developer Forum and promoted its next-generation architecture called Skylake, which will also be made using the 14-nm process, with features for wire-free computing and better graphics.

Market needs have defined Intel’s manufacturing priorities. With the PC market weakening, Intel is churning out more mobile chips in which power consumption remains a priority over performance. That has changed the way Intel has built processors, with the company adopting a system-on-chip approach where a number of processing and wireless modules are integrated in one chipset.

Krzanich said Intel still wants cutting-edge transistors, but depending on priorities, Moore’s Law could be achieved using multiple paths. Balance needs to be found in cost, performance and power consumption.

Intel is approaching Moore’s Law from the economics related to cost-per-transistor, which would come down with scaling. With the 22-nm process, Intel adopted a new chip design in which it started stacking transistors on top of each other. That was enhanced with 14-nm technology, in which chip sizes were made even smaller.

Intel was slightly below the trend line on cost reduction with 14-nm process compared to previous manufacturing processes when taking Moore’s Law into account, Holt said.

In terms of chip design, Intel scaled down the transistor fin pitch, and aggressively reduced the scale of the interconnect so all the building blocks on chips fit together in a cohesive way. But it could not achieve aggressive scaling with the gate pitch or SRAM memory cells.

But as Moore’s Law detractors have argued, etching more and more features on smaller chips will get even more challenging. Chips could be vulnerable to a wider range of defects, and a lot more of attention to detail is required when designing and making chips.

Intel is looking to implement new technologies like EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography, which will help produce chips at smaller geometries. It is also shifting to 450-millimeter wafers so it’s less expensive to make chips. Intel is also researching chip materials that could possibly replace silicon.

The 14-nm process will be succeeded by the 10-nm and the 7-nm processes. Holt did not say when the first chips based on those processes would be released, but Moore’s Law will be applicable.

“We are quite confident we can continue to deliver on the promises of Moore’s Law,” Holt said.


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Hardware needs software more than ever, CEO Brian Krzanich said
For decades, Intel chips would be unboxed and put straight into computers. But the chip maker is now trying to tie software closer to hardware before it starts producing chips, said CEO Brian Krzanich on Wednesday.

“For companies like Intel that are for the most part hardware companies, we tend to use software as a driver for hardware, and we tend to think of software as helping drive [the] need for hardware,” Krzanich said in a chat session on Reddit.

In driving his point home, Krzanich invoked former Intel CEO Andy Grove. Grove said that software and hardware were complementary, and “drove each other,” Krzanich wrote.

Intel’s software focus has grown in recent years, which became evident when the company appointed Renee James as the company’s president in May, a promotion from her previous post as executive vice president and general manager of the software and services group. James and Krzanich work as a team to make decisions for the company.

In recent years Intel has also made many software acquisitions, including McAfee. Intel intends to push the acquired software into mobile devices and PCs.

Intel is tuning McAfee — now renamed Intel Security — software to take advantage of security features on its chips. Intel also acquired software companies like Wind River, whose real-time operating system is considered key for its supercomputing and low-power “Internet of things” chips to securely collect and quickly process data.

Intel has also released its own Hadoop distribution designed to work best with its server chips.

“We now spend a huge amount of time upfront thinking about the experiences we want a user to have before we put one transistor on the chip,” Krzanich said.

That is how Intel has changed its approach in chip development — first defining what a product is going to be used for, developing the software and tools around it and then tuning the chip to meet that user experience, Krzanich said.

“It’s about experience, and without a great user experience from the un-boxing onwards…you don’t have a product,” Krzanich said.

Krzanich also touched upon the company’s relationship with Apple.

“We’ve always had a very close relationship with Apple and it continues to grow closer,” Krzanich wrote. “We’re always trying to build the relationship with all of our customers to be closer.”

Apple uses Intel’s chips in PCs, but uses its own ARM-based processors in the iPhone, iPad and other devices. After sticking to making mainly x86 chips in its factories for decades, Intel opened up to making ARM-based processors earlier this year, and will be making 64-bit ARM chips for Altera, which makes FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays).

Analyst firm IC Insight last week sent a note saying that Intel should cut a deal with Apple to make 64-bit chips on the 14-nanometer process, which is considered the industry’s most advanced manufacturing technology.

Krzanich also said he hopes 40 million tablets with Intel chips will ship this year.


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Adoption of new technologies such as tablets, social media and cloud computing is expected to transform the small and medium enterprise landscape within the next year, according to new research by CompTIA, the global IT trade association.

 

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The research offers insights into the business opportunities for IT service providers and the new challenges that IT departments will face as IT becomes a more critical part of running the business.

Forecasts of Increased Cloud Cover
The research shows that 18 percent of U.K. small and medium enterprises are now using cloud products, and a further 30 percent plan to introduce them during the next year. Almost all (93 percent) of those using them found the transition easy and 79 percent found results positive. Furthermore, 81 percent expect to increase their cloud usage during the next two years.

However small and medium enterprises still voice the usual concerns about security (50 percent), reliability of cloud provider (30 percent), Internet connections (27 percent), and lack understanding of the cloud model (26 percent).

This indicates significant opportunities for providers of cloud services. If cloud is to continue its successful growth, providers will need to work closely with IT departments to explain cloud services and provide ongoing support to ensure these concerns are addressed.

More Tablets, More Side Effects
Part of the move to the cloud will be driven by the uptake of tablets, which benefit from the remote access cloud provides. Thirty-seven percent of small and medium enterprises already have tablets and another 37 percent plan on purchasing them, meaning it will be a prevalent business tool within the year.

Most current usage is simply taking advantage of their convenience, with the majority planning to use tablets for work while traveling, presentations and note taking. However a significant proportion are looking at using them for specific business purposes, such as demonstrating a product (34 percent) or point-of-sale transactions (32 percent).

Only 5 percent of small and medium enterprises have purchased tablets to replace PCs or smartphones. It seems likely that a three-device system will become the norm in most enterprises in the near future.

“Tablets will open new challenges for IT staff, as employees use them outside work,” said Seth Robinson, CompTIA’s director, technology analysis, who conducted the research. “Tablets can get infections from home networks, which can spread to the corporate network. Support for tablets’ closed hardware system is different to that of PCs or laptops. These and other issues will need to be considered by the IT department in building a mobile device management policy.”

Social Media Helping to Communicate
At 26 percent, social media has the highest adoption rate among emerging technologies, with 61 percent of respondents saying they have seen a positive return on social media investment. Eighty-one percent of firms have a social strategy, which correlated with those who thought social media had proven beneficial.

The most common uses of social media are marketing-related, such as brand awareness and communicating with customers, while 22 percent are using social media to monitor information and better understand market dynamics.

While social media has had tangible benefits, 49 percent of companies not using it see no clear benefit, despite nearly half of those saying improved communication with customers would be beneficial. IT departments can help their companies understand the benefits by developing clear case studies of social media success.

Not-So-Green IT
Green IT had the lowest adoption rate, at 12 percent, despite relatively easy adoption, though a significantly higher number of companies plan on using it soon (26 percent).

“Technology trends change from year to year,” Robinson said. “Technologies that were on the fringe a year ago are now becoming an important part of business, whilst others which seemed about to take hold have shown a slower adoption.”

IDF takes place at the same time as BUILD, and the Wintel alliance (for now) is linking arms to reach out to developers Microsoft 70-640 Training .”.

If you’re going to Intel’s Developer Forum next week and want to know what’s up with Windows 8, good news: you don’t have to jet down to Anaheim, Microsoft has got you covered at IDF, too.

 

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As we all know, the Microsoft BUILD conference takes place next week in Anaheim, California (just across the street from Disneyland). BUILD is a rollup of PDC and WinHEC, so it’s the show for developers to attend. At the same time, Intel is hosting the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco.

This may present a quandary for some people, but thankfully, Microsoft and Intel are coordinating this rather well. For those of you attending IDF, you can get yourself at least some info on Windows 8. As for a beta, well, we still don’t know if one will come out at BUILD (although I’d be shocked if it didn’t happen). The most likely scenario is that you can register to get the beta while at IDF.

The information comes courtesy of Intel’s IDF site, which lists a few notable sessions involving Microsoft (click on the Technical Session Catalog and search for Microsoft). The biggest one comes on Wednesday, where Microsoft will deliver a session on Windows 8 called “Microsoft Windows 8 on Intel Architecture.” This session will be the look at Windows 8 and discuss “the work both companies are undertaking to deliver this new compute experience.”

Most of the sessions are reserved for Thursday, the last day of IDF. I’ve seen how attendance falls off on day 3 of IDF and question whether that’s a good idea, but maybe it was all they had Microsoft Free MCTS Training and MCTS Online Training.

The two companies will host a session called “Hot Topic Q&A: Intel and Microsoft – Windows 8.” Microsoft will have three representatives, Intel will have two engineers.

Another session on Thursday will be “Microsoft Windows Platform Evolution and UEFI Requirements.” UEFI stands for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface and will finally replace the creaky old BIOS firmware that has been in PCs for more than 30 years. The session will talk about the latest Windows 8 platform requirements including UEFI boot and security features.

The final session on Thursday will be “Integrating Intel Platform Capabilities on Microsoft Windows Security Architecture.” Intel will detail improvements in the Windows security architecture and how Intel hardware will work with the next-generation of Windows.

Sure sounds like a beta is coming, doesn’t it?

‘Trojan mouse’ was just a hint — almost any hardware device that can be plugged into a computer can compromise its security

Much of the computer security blogosphere was abuzz last week over NetraGard’s clever hack of a client’s network using a specially modified Logitech mouse USB mouse. The mouse contained firmware code that automatically launched when the socially engineered user plugged it in to his or her computer. The attack code simply dialed home to let NetraGard know it had been successful in penetrating the victim’s network. Victory and success!

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Many readers were unaware that hardware, especially a mouse, could be used to deliver auto-launching exploit code. But for others, this doesn’t come as a surprise.

[ Master your security with InfoWorld’s interactive Security iGuide. | Stay up to date on the latest security developments with InfoWorld’s Security Central newsletter. | Get a dose of daily computer security news by following Roger Grimes on Twitter. ]

I developed my first USB virus nearly 7 years ago, when I was working for Foundstone. I figured out I could use hidden desktop.ini files to autolaunch any contained executable. It bypassed autorun- and Autoplay-blocking defense mechanisms. I had discovered that I could do this on a USB key, and my coworker at the time, Aaron Higbee, quickly moved my exploit to USB devices.

In short order, we had built a digital-camera roaming worm as a demo. It was a sweet day for discovery, although we both blew off the real work we’d been hired to do. Luckily, Foundstone was supportive of our efforts and told us to focus on further USB exploits. Ultimately, I was incredibly surprised to see, even heading into this year, USB-infecting vectors remain a major threat (although Microsoft’s new default treatment of autorun and Autoplay has significantly diminished that risk).

IT security admins must understand that a computer can be compromised by almost any hardware device plugged into it. Hardware is hardware — the instructions coded into it and its firmware takes precedence over software. When we talk trust boundaries in computer security, you always have to remember the hardware boundary must be discussed and defended. If I, as the attacker, can convince a victim to plug in some sort of hardware or if I plug it in myself, then it is, for all intense purposes, game over. If I can plug something into your USB, DMA, FireWire, and now mouse port, I’ll likely succeed in carrying off a malicious action.

Heck, it might be game over if all the attacker does is remove existing hardware. Two years ago, disk encryption vendors were re-alerted to the fact that their software disk encryption programs could be circumvented by malicious hackers freezing the RAM memory and analyzing its stored contents on another computer. A different researcher proved he could retrieve encryption keys stored deeply inside the world’s specialized Trusted Platform Module encryption chips.

This isn’t news. Thousands of people around the world have known this for a very long time. You shouldn’t be any more worried about it today than you’ve been over the past two decades — at least until these sorts of vectors start to become popularly exploited. Most bad actors don’t need physical access to your machine for exploitative actions. The fake antivirus programs and malicious email links are still working quite well and infecting tens of millions of users.

If you are worried that your assets are at higher risk of physical attack, let this column be your wake-up call and show it to management.

You can take steps to protect yourself. End-user education is always worth trying. Let your end-users know that anything they plug into their computer could launch malicious code. That free USB key at the conference show? They shouldn’t plug it in, nor should they attach free mice, free keyboards, or whatever if they are at elevated risk of physical attack.

System configurators can disable unneeded ports in the system’s BIOS or within the controlling operating system. Disabling in the BIOS is better; that way, OS-boot-around attacks can’t succeed. Unfortunately, you can’t disable every port. Make sure all the normal antimalware and computer security defenses are enabled. You may not stop the initial compromise, but you might be able to detect or stop the subsequent actions.

And until better solutions are discovered, you will have to live with some amount of physical risk.

The reality is that most of us are facing far more malicious risk from far less sophisticated attacks. Good computer security defense is about evaluating your current threats and knowing which ones to concentrate on.

The IRS today said it crossed the 1 billion mark for individual tax returns processed via its e-file system.

The Internal Revenue Service’s electronic filing program started as a pilot project in 1986 and became available nationally in 1990. Prior to the April 18 deadline, IRS e-file passed another high point as more than 100 million individual tax returns were e-filed during the 2011 filing season, the agency stated.

 

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MORE NEWS: IRS: Top 10 things every taxpayer should know about identity theft

Congress set an 80% goal for the electronic filing of federal tax and information returns in 1998. E-file is now very close to that mark, the IRS said. Currently, more than 79% of taxpayers have used e-file to submit their tax returns so far this year. The IRS also says an e-file return costs 20 times less to process than a paper return.

In 2009, Congress passed another provision requiring tax preparers who file 10 or more tax returns to use e-file. IRS e-file has been steadily growing, but the new law, which the IRS is phasing in, brought a surge of e-filed returns for 2011. For this year, tax preparers who filed 100 or more returns were required to e-file. For 2012, tax preparers who file 11 or more returns will be required to e-file.

The IRS was in the news last week as a report from the Government Accountability Office said that the number of tax-related identity theft incidents is exploding and the IRS has seen reports of the crime rice from 51,702 in 2008 to 248,357 in 2010.

While the IRS has programs in place to fight the identity theft issue, it is also hamstrung in many other areas, the report said.

McAfee-Rovio Mobile
Let’s face it – fighting viruses on your own computer gets really old after a while. You perform an hour-long scan of your hard drive, you quarantine suspicious files, you scrutinize them and then delete them one-by-one. To rectify this, imagine what would happen if McAfee tried to spice things up a bit by overlaying Rovio’s uber-popular “Angry Birds” interface onto its antivirus software. In this setup, suspected viruses appear on your screen as green pigs that you then have the option of eradicating with a wide arsenal of antivirus birds. Now if only someone could figure out a way to integrate “Farmville” into hard drive reformatting…

 

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WikiLeaks-CIA.gov
At this point, there’s pretty much nothing the United States government can do to stop WikiLeaks from acquiring and publishing vital state secrets. So in order to streamline the leaking process and to raise some cash to pay down the national debt, the government might consider licensing the CIA.gov domain name to WikiLeaks so the website can have easy access to U.S. intelligence databases.

Goldman Sachs-Google Wallet
Goldman Sachs, the oft-subpoenaed investment banking titan, has done a bang-up job making money for a wide range of esteemed clients including the Greek government and Col. Moammar Gadhafi. So with this in mind, why wouldn’t you want Goldman managing your digital wallet? Just think of the joys you’ll feel when you wake up to learn that all the money in your checking account has been invested in complex currency swaps and synthetic junk bonds! We’ve looked at a lot of bad merger ideas in this piece, but the only way to aptly describe this proposed merger is with the words of Goldman senior executive Tom Montag; in other words, this is “one [expletive] deal.”

With 4G smartphones hitting the market in a big way, we decided to test a couple of devices to get an overall sense of how 4G compares with 3G, how specific devices perform and how the underlying networks differ.

 

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T-Mobile’s data cap embrace leaves Sprint as lone ‘unlimited’ 4G carrier

We got our hands on the Verizon Wireless ThunderBolt and the Samsung Galaxy S from T-Mobile. (Sprint was invited to participate, but was unable to provide a device.) Here’s what we learned in general about 4G wireless networks (watch a slideshow version of this story):

A quick guide to 4G phones
1. 4G capability on any device will add significant bandwidth if you’re in an area with good 4G coverage. However if you stray beyond the 4G coverage area, you revert back to 3G speeds. So, check carefully with any carrier that claims 4G service to make sure it has coverage where you need it.

2. 4G isn’t available in every market served by these companies, and even in markets where it is available, it’s not everywhere in that market. I conducted this series of tests in northern Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. I found that locations even a couple of miles apart had significant performance differences depending on where I was in the signal pattern.

In general, you can assume that if you’re on or near the edge of a 4G coverage area, your data speeds won’t be as fast as they would be in the center of a coverage area.

3. It’s also important to know what the limits of these devices are. T-Mobile claims that the top speed of its 4G network is about 21Mbps, theoretically. Verizon Wireless claims about half of that. In actual testing, Verizon consistently delivered test files in about half the time as T-Mobile.

4. It’s also worth noting that in spite of the claims by all of the companies, none of these devices, nor their respective networks, is really 4G. The proposed ITU standard for 4G requires a speed of 100Mbps for mobile devices, and that’s not available right now to any carrier, anywhere.

5. Both of the 4G smartphones we tested have more in common than they have obvious differences. Both are Android 2.2 devices, they both have most of the standard Android apps pre-loaded, and both feature large screens that are clearly designed for showing video.

Both come with video apps that include a means of downloading and streaming video, and both can use videoconferencing apps so that you can look at whomever you’re calling, assuming they have a similar service. Skype’s Qik is available for both devices, and they can call each other, most other Android smartphones, as well as iPhones, BlackBerry and Nokia smartphones.

PlayBook plays in WiFi world

Here’s the head-to-head comparison:
T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S 4G

The T-Mobile Galaxy S 4G is the next step in T-Mobile’s line of Galaxy S smartphones. The company also sells the Samsung Vibrant, which is a similar device that supports 3G speeds. The Galaxy S 4G features a 4-inch AMOLED screen and is powered by a Samsung 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor. The device includes two cameras, a 5-megapixel rear camera, and a VGA resolution front camera intended for video chats and little else.

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