Archive for November, 2011

It was up to AT&T to convince U.S. regulators that its proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile was in the best interest of the public. Plain and simple, “the applicants failed” to do that, the Federal Communications Commission found. Among the list of concerns in the FCC’s 109-page report is that the merger would ultimately result in heavy job losses.

The FCC also believes AT&T is likely to build and expand high-speed wireless Internet infrastructures even without the merger, thereby negating one of the deal’s supposed benefits, according to a report in BusinessWeek.

“The applicants failed to meet their burden of demonstrating that the competitive harms that would result from the proposed transaction are outweighed by the claimed benefits,” the FCC wrote in its report. Furthermore, the loss of T-Mobile in the competitive landscape gave the FCC “cause for serious concern.”

As you might imagine, the FCC’s ruling was music to Sprint’s ears, which echoed the agency’s feelings and said in a statement that “approval of AT&T’s bid for T-Mobile would lead to higher prices for consumers, eliminate jobs, harm competition, and damp innovation across the wireless industry.”

AT&T isn’t giving up, however. The FCC allowed AT&T to withdraw its application last week, which means the wireless telco is allowed to submit a new one at any time. That’s exactly what AT&T plans to do, though first it will have to amend some things to address the FCC’s concerns.

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Wait, wait, wait just a minute, isn’t the Killer E2100 Network Processing Unit a product of Bigfoot Networks? It most certainly is, but what many people don’t know is that Qualcomm Atheros somewhat quietly scooped Bigfoot up a couple of months ago, a purchase that made sense considering Bigfoot was using Qualcomm hardware anyway and tweaking it with their own software. In any event, Qualcomm Atheros is now fully in charge and the company really wants to get the word out that its Killer E2100 NIC is integrated and available in new Gigabyte G1.Assassin 2 motherboards based on Intel’s X79 Express chipset. So does Gigabyte.

“The people who purchase our motherboards demand the ability to play games, watch movies and stream content in HD how they want and when they want without any interruption,” said Tim Handley, deputy director of motherboard marketing at Gigabyte. “Killer E2100 is a perfect addition to our portfolio of motherboards based on the X79 chipset, as it delivers our customers the best in high-performance networking along with complete control of bandwidth allocation. This ensures a top-quality experience and faster-paced game play.”

The Killer E2100 is a beefed up NIC tuned primarily for gaming, but also for HD video and streaming audio. Its Advanced Stream Detect feature identifies online games and other tasks and tweaks its settings for better performance, part of which includes prioritizing traffic.

In practice, Bigfoot’s Killer NIC products have been a mixed bag, though improving. While it’s not an apples to apples comparison to the E2100, check out our recent Head to Head pitting the Bigfoot Killer Wireless-N 1102 against Intel’s Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 here.

Image Credit: Bigfoot

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Anyone who lives in one of the states hit by snow last night (hello Michigan) need not be reminded that winter is here. Be that as it may, Thermaltake has chosen to embrace the cold season rather than be a grump about it with its Commander MS-I Snow Edition computer case. That’s really Thermaltake’s fancy pants way of saying it gave the Commander MS-I a white themed makeover.

Other than the aesthetic, not much has changed. The Commander MS-I Snow Edition is a mid-tower chassis made of steel with a transparent window. It comes with a single 120mm blue LED rear exhaust fan and can accommodate up to three more (front, top, and bottom).

On the outside are three 5.25-inch drive bays and a single 3.5-inch bay. Inside the case are five more 3.5-inch drive bays and a single 2.5-inch bay for a solid state drive. There are seven expansion slots, a bottom-mounted PSU area, and room enough for graphics cards up to 12.5 inches.

So what’s different over the original other than the white theme? USB 3.0 support. As far as we can tell, that’s the only non-aesthetic upgrade.

No word on price or availability, though as a point of reference, the original Commander MS-I streets for around $60 shipped.

Product Page

Image Credit: Thermaltake

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If you’re a Sonos user, go grab your dancing shoes and air guitar, because the Sonos System Software 3.6 update gives you more ways to rock out. One of the big additions is Android tablet support via the Sonos Controller for Android app. With Android smartphones already supported, users are now able to wirelessly control Sonos from any Android 2.2 (or above) device with this update, including the Kindle Fire.

The latest Sonos Controller for Android build also includes a few new enhancements, such as alarms, music library management, and Twitter support. You can download the app from the Android Market here.

Sonos 3.6 introduces Slacker Radio as a free music service on Sonos in the U.S. and Canada. This addition gives Sonos users access to over 150 “expert-programmed stations,” as well as the ability to create unlimited custom stations from a library of millions of songs. There are ads, of course, which you can get rid of by upgrading to Slacker Radio Plus or Slacker Premium Radio.

Finally, Sonos 3.6 includes improved Spotify integration on Sonos. Spotify fans on Sonos now have access to their Spotify Inbox and can play music from Spotify’s new releases and top tracks. The software update also adds support for ACC+.

Sonos System Software 3.6 Release Notes

Image Credit: Sonos

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Windows 8 will be the first version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system to support ARM-based chips. When you’re asked to imagine ARM-based devices running Windows 8, isn’t it hard to think beyond tablets? But that is not the case with NVIDIA and Qualcomm, who are said to be banking on the Windows on ARM (WoA) platform to make a dent in the notebook market.

According to Digitimes, its sources at notebook vendors have revealed that although WoA platform will debut with tablets in late 2012, notebooks featuring ARM chips and running Windows won’t arrive anytime before June the following year.

ARM SoC vendors like NVIDIA and Qualcomm are said to “already aggressively cooperating with notebook players such as Asustek Computer and Lenovo and are set to launch WoA-based notebooks to test the water in mid-2013 with expectations to see the platform take off in 2014 and further grab share from Wintel in 2015 to become the second platform of the notebook market,”

Its sources identified lack of support for PC software – Windows on ARM will not support any existing x86 software – and ensuring “cooperation with notebook vendors” as the biggest challenges facing these companies.

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