Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

Wireless Wonderland
It may sometimes seem as if the United States is stuck in a wireless rut, with patchy access to Wi-Fi and relatively slow cellular networks, but better connectivity could be just around the corner. In March, when the FCC auctioned off new slices of wireless spectrum, Verizon obtained a significant portion, which it promised to make open, enabling access to previously off-limits airwaves. (See “What the FCC Auction Means” and “Opening the Airwaves.”) Another slice of wireless spectrum will become available when television stations switch from analogue to digital in February, and researchers spent much of 2008 developing these new “white space” devices. (See “The Coming Wireless Revolution.”) Wi-Fi could also get a boost from an Intel research project that involved rewriting the software in routers to quickly beam data over more than 60 miles. (See “Long-Distance Wi-Fi.”) Another emerging point-to-point wireless technology that was announced this year makes use of an underused part of the spectrum to blast more than 10 gigabits of data per second through the air. (See “Wireless at Fiber Speeds.”)

Mobile Mania
For people who love smart phones, 2008 was a big year. Apple opened its iPhone to developers and launched the app store, letting them sell software for the phone directly to users. The apps released so far range from the sublime to the ridiculous–from applications that search the Web via voice commands to games that make use of the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer, and virtual musical instruments that rely on the touch screen and microphone. (See “What to Expect from the Open iPhone” and “What Does Apple Want?”) Google’s big mobile play–a mobile operating system called Android–also finally arrived on its first phone, the T-Mobile G1. (See “Awaiting the Google Phone” and “Android Has Arrived.”) But for some people, smaller and simpler is still better when it comes to cell phones. An Israeli startup called Modu Mobile introduced a modular handset that slides into a number of different skins and even a car adapter. (See “Rethinking the Cell Phone.”) With so many cell phones available, obsolete devices are rapidly piling up in desk drawers, but there’s good news for the environmentally conscious: more companies than ever are shipping obsolete phones to specialized recycling centers, where they are either rejuvenated or melted down for the precious metals that they contain. (See “Where Cell Phones Go to Die.”)

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Credit: Patrick Baudisch

Tagged: Computing, IBM, Intel, wireless, chips, microprocessor, touch-screen

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives


Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me