Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Hardware

The big buzz this week is Apple's [no longer Apple Computer, but simply Apple] announcement of the iPhone.

UPDATE: Cisco sues Apple. Cisco owns the iPhone name and have used it since 1996.

Shortly after Apple made their announcement, Cisco’s Chief Development Officer Charles Giancarlo read a prepared statement.
"Given Apple’s numerous requests for permission to use Cisco’s trademark over the past several years and our extensive discussions with them recently, it is our belief that with its announcement today, Apple intends to agree to the final document and public statement that was distributed to them last night and that addressed a few remaining items. We expect to receive a signed document today."
In a press release,
Cisco® today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against Apple, Inc., seeking to prevent Apple from infringing upon and deliberately copying and using Cisco's registered iPhone trademark.

Cisco obtained the iPhone trademark in 2000 after completing the acquisition of Infogear, which previously owned the mark and sold iPhone products for several years. Infogear's original filing for the trademark dates to March 20, 1996. Linksys, a division of Cisco, has been shipping a new family of iPhone products since early last year. On Dec. 18, Linksys expanded the iPhone® family with additional products.

"Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco's iPhone name," said Mark Chandler, senior vice president and general counsel, Cisco. "There is no doubt that Apple's new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission.

"Today's iPhone is not tomorrow's iPhone. The potential for convergence of the home phone, cell phone, work phone and PC is limitless, which is why it is so important for us to protect our brand," Chandler concluded.

I think a bigger announcement is this possibility: cnet is reporting that a Pennsylvania startup called Powercast says it has a technology that will power cell phones and other small electronic devices wirlessly over short distances.

After three years of keeping its technology under close guard, Powercast has come to CES 2007 to get consumer and manufacturer attention. Powercast is a radio frequency that is transmitted over a small area, and its energy is "harvested"--wirelessly--to give power to small devices like cell phones.

While it's presented as wireless power, Powercast isn't just a replacement for a universal charger. Instead, it's meant to either continuously charge a battery or replace the need for them altogether.

It works like this: a transmitter can be placed anywhere--in a lamp, for example, that is plugged into the wall and sits on a table. The transmitter in the lamp sends out a continuous, low RF signal. Anything with either AA or AAA batteries set within its range--and equipped with a Powercast receiver, which is the size of your fingernail--will be continuously charged.

"Our solution is, if talk time (on a cell phone) is 5 1/2 hours, by trickle-charging (it) at work, now talk time is 10 hours because the battery never gets to dead," John Shearer, CEO of Powercast, said in an interview.

There are many applications for Powercast, said Shearer, but the company is making the PC peripherals market a priority. Think a wireless keyboard or mouse with no battery, or a hermetically sealed battery that the customer never need access again.

Major CE and IT manufacturers will have to agree to build Powercast capability into their products, and thus far Powercast is revealing only Philips as a future partner. The first Powercast product will come to market by the end of 2007, the company says.

1 comment:

michael lewis said...

They may just call it the ApplePhone. Which is fine by me. It doesn't really matter what it's called, it's frickin' cool.

As for the Powercast? Come on, this is not new, this is old, as old as Marconi and Bell. What do you think drives wireless communications? Electromagnetic radiation. Just like what Powercast it proposing. Just that they finally figured how to get ┬ÁV up to mV. And have the receiver use that radiation to charge a battery. The theory has been there all along. Just the physical technology needed to catch up.

But really, would you want to expose your brain to those levels of radiation? I wouldn't.