New Tech Still On Tap For 2009

Enabling tech nvidia ion usb 3

We have yet to hit the holiday shopping season, so you know there will still be plenty of gadget goodness before the year ends. However, there’s also some new behind-the-scenes tech to get excited about in 2009. Here are four enabling technologies to watch out for in the next four months. This tech may not be sexy, but it’s guaranteed to make those shiny gadget toys work better, smarter, faster.

Since my netbook is clearly not cutting it for a lot of video playback, I’m psyched about new processors making their way into netbooks and small laptops in Q4. Most likely to actually hit the commercial market this year is the NVIDIA ION chipset, which is said to boost graphics power significantly in any Intel-Atom-powered device. According to Brad Linder over at Lilliputing (also heard as afternoon anchor on my local NPR station), two major manufacturers, Lenovo and Samsung, are planning to ship ION-powered laptops in the last few months of the year. And, Brad speculates that the upcoming Nokia netbook, the Booklet 3G, may also sport NVIDIA ION graphics. More info to come at Nokia World on September 2nd.

USB 3.0
If you’re into transferring a lot of media between devices, then the launch of USB 3.0 is right up your alley. Unlike USB 2.0, which transfers data at a rate of 480 Mbps, USB 3.0 boasts a whopping transfer speed of 4.8 Gbps. That’s not just good for moving HD video around, it’s also perfect for large back-up operations to an external hard drive. According to Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOM, USB 3.0 will start shipping to device-makers this year, with consumer availability soon to follow.

I know, I know, it’s cool to be down on WiMAX these days, but I’m still excited for it to spread to more cities (including my own Philadelphia) this year. Partly I’m excited about the higher speeds for mobile broadband, but partly I’m excited because of the different pricing options compared to existing 3G services. For example, my employer is unlikely to subsidize mobile broadband at $60 per month, but a $10 day pass is a good bet for reimbursement. Perfect for conferences, and other places where Wi-Fi tends to be lacking. Even an unlimited mobile contract is said to be only $50 per month. (See pricing coverage from Paul Kapustka at Sidecut Reports) That’s a better price and a faster connection.

Upstream Channel Bonding
And while we’re on the subject of broadband speeds, here’s an obscure one: upstream channel bonding. Channel bonding is what’s making it possible for cable operators to offer peak DOCSIS 3.0 speeds of 50-100 Mbps in some markets. To date we’ve only seen downstream channel bonding in the US, but upstream channel bonding is on its way. Karl Bode at Broadband Reports wrote earlier this month that Comcast is exploring upstream DOCSIS 3.0 trials this year, with upstream speeds maxing out at 120 Mbps.

5 thoughts on “New Tech Still On Tap For 2009”

  1. Yeah, I’m actually starting to think that HDMI input on the Nokia Booklet 3G is due to the Intel Atom Z530 processor which includes HD acceleration for some file formats. But Samsung and Lenovo are definitely planning to bring ION-powered netbooks to market, and there are already a number of nettops and several all-in-one desktop PCs with the graphics chips.

    Also, I was wondering if anyone was listening today. I don’t normally anchor on Tuesdays. :)

  2. Pine trail!

    My Xohm WiMax sub was $30/mo for the first 6 months and then $45/mo. With such limited coverage, it wasn’t worth it even at those rates. I’m back to 3G @ $50 via Sprint and a MiFi. Maybe not as fast, but I don’t have to worry which cities have antennas.

    Other new tech, smaller in scale perhaps, that I’m waiting for… we know MS has some Media Center announcements at CEIDA next month and the newest Popcorn Hour begins shipping any day now.

  3. I just signed up with Clear in Las Vegas as their service just went live a few weeks ago. I went with one of their combo plans – Unlimited Home and Mobile (6 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up) for $50/month with no contract and they say the price is for life (though that promise is only as good as long as Clear is in business). The home modem was $60 and the USB modem was $40. I am about half way through the 7 day no obligation period and so far the service has been good.

    Installation was pretty straightforward (though I did have to call Clear to have them re-provision the modem as it wouldn’t pick up an IP address). I unplugged my cable modem and connected the ethernet cable into my existing Apple Airport Extreme Base station and my home network continued to hum along. I even have been able to continue using our T-Mobile@Home VoIP adapter (I use the Cisco HiPort VoIP adapter instead of the WRT54G-TM wireless router/adapter combo) for home phone service without any issue.

    I currently have Cox cable for home service which costs $55/month and didn’t have any mobile broadband. So for $5 less per month, I am now getting mobile broadband. Download and upload speeds are slower (Cox delivers ~20 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up) but I don’t do too much heavy downloading or uploading. The latency is more with Clear but I don’t do any online gaming so, again, not an issue for me.

    I have used the MiFi with Verizon and it is a great service and device. However, I don’t travel enough to justify the monthly cost.

    I’ll see how the next 4 days go and decide if I dump Cox (won’t break my heart) and stick with Clear and hope they expand their footprint in the future.

  4. Brad and Dave- what’s the latest on Pine Trail? CES? And, Brad- I must never listen on Tuesday afternoons because you’re *always* on when I tune to 90.9.

    Gilbert- thanks for the info on your experience with WiMAX. Have to admit I don’t want to replace the fixed line in my home, but I sure would love to have mobile access.

  5. Dave,

    Out of curiosity, how did you manage to get the Sprint MiFi for $50/month? I can only see if offered for $60?

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