Mozilla Disconnecting Its Smartphone

Carl Weinschenk
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CES Announces the Most Innovative Tech Products for 2016

The race to land the third spot in the smartphone race behind Apple and Google has one less competitor. eWeek reports that Mozilla, at its developer conference in Orlando, said that it is ending efforts to develop and sell the low-priced Firefox OS smartphone.

The operating system initiative goes back more than three years:

The Firefox OS effort first began in 2011 under the name Boot to Gecko (B2G) and was rebranded Firefox OS in July 2012, according to an earlier eWEEKreport. Gecko is the name of the core rendering engine that powers Firefox, and the idea of B2G was to have a thin Linux base tightly integrated with Firefox as the foundation of a new operating system.


The story is that the company still supports the Firefox OS – if not the phone it would go into – but that “could change in the future.”

AT&T Simplifies EIP

AT&T has simplified the rate plans for business customers on its Mobile Select Equipment Installation Plans (EIP), according to WirelessWeek.

The new plans focus on pooled data across lines and talk and text options for smartphones and feature phones. They also offer EIP with zero percent interest financing, according to the story.

The plan offers a number of other voice and texting options, which are described in the story. Businesses – and the telcos that serve them – are struggling to keep up in a rapidly changing environment. Fast-paced technology and the impact of BYOD work structures make such efforts difficult – and extremely important.

GigaPower Plots Big Expansion

AT&T said this week that it will offer its 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) GigaPower service to more than 38 cities. Once complete, the service will have a presence in 58 locales, according to Computerworld.

The company said that it has launched the service in Los Angeles and West Palm Beach, Florida. The largest of the newly announced cities, according to the story, are Birmingham, Alabama; San Francisco and San Jose, California; St. Louis; Detroit; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Memphis and Milwaukee.

The two-year-old service is rather uniquely defined from a geographical perspective: It is in California, Texas, and east of Mississippi – though not in the northeast.

Walmart Unveils Mobile Payment

Walmart is getting on board with a mobile payment option, according to InformationWeek. The company’s system works only in its stores – the story adds “for the time being” – but unlike some other systems is available both on Android and iOS.

Walmart Pay will launch in stores near its Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters but will be rolled out to the chain’s more than 4,600 stores early next year. The payment option will be part of the Walmart app, which the company says is used by 22 million customers per month.

It’s not an easy sector. The story says that Apple Pay is available to about 38 million users on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, but that despite this, “the mobile payment system [has] been slow to take off.”

Helping the IoT Work

Connecting the huge amount of Internet of Things (IoT) devices – which often are inaccessible and need to run at extremely low power levels – is a challenge. The company or companies that figure it out best, however, will make a lot of money.

Silver Spring Networks this week unveiled Starfish, its entry in the sweepstakes. Silicon Angle says that it is an international IPv6 approach that is based on IEEE 802.15.4g, which also is known as Wi-SUN.

Starfish operates at speeds as fast as 1.2 Megabits per second (Mbps), and has 10 millisecond latency and a point-to-point range of 50 miles. An accompanying offer is Haiku, a service that will provide 5,000 16-byte messages for free monthly.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.



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