Spectrum: Where It Came From, Where It Goes

In the the beginning, wireless spectrum in the U.S. was free. In  1983, the Federal Communications Commission created the first analog cellular networks by assigning two chunks of airwaves in the 800 MHz band. One … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / January 23rd, 2013
Dark Side of the Moon album cover

Spectrum: The Shortage Is a Crisis, but Not Serious

The late economist Herb Stein used to say that “if something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” A profound economic truth lies behind that seeming flip statement. The world is forever on the verge … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / January 16th, 2013
DEC system board (Wikipedia)

Why Hardware, and CES, Still Matter

An odd notion that hardware no longer matters has lately taken hold in the world of tech commentary. For example, in a well-argued piece explaining his decision not to attend the Consumer Electronics Show, Buzzfeed’s … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / January 10th, 2013
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch photo

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch: Windows 8 Is Tough Even on a Great Windows 8 Laptop

I have been using Windows 8 through its several beta and preview versions on equipment designed for earlier editions, and I have been wondering for many months whether my unhappiness with it resulted from shortcomings … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / January 9th, 2013
YouTube screen shot

Google vs. Microsoft: Just Cut It Out

Hostilities between Google and Microsoft are heating up, and users are being caught in the crossfire. Microsoft, of course, has spent the last couple of years trying to bring the wrath of the federal government … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / January 5th, 2013
Qualcomm pdQ photo

Qualcomm and the Birth of the Smartphone

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs’ appearance on the Charlie Rose Show brought back memories of the earliest days of smartphones. Jacobs told rose that he originally proposed adding a cellular radio to the Apple Newton MessagePad. … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / January 3rd, 2013
Photo of Panasonic CES booth (Wildstrom)

CES 2013: Where’s the Excitement?

Next week, as I have in early January for I can’t remember how many years, I’ll head for Las Vegas and the International Consumer Electronics Show. I’ll admit I don’t much like either Vegas or … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / January 2nd, 2013
Cnet screenshot

Why Mourn the Death of Pirates?

At some level, I have a bit of grudging admiration for CNET for publishing an article so obviously hostile to the the interests of its corporate parent, CBS. But on the other hand, it is … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / January 1st, 2013

Patents: That Word Does Not Mean What You Think It Means

Yesterday, the internet was abuzz with reports that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had “rejected” another Apple iPhone patent. Many commentators jumped to the conclusion that, since this patent figured heavily in Apple’s recent … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / December 20th, 2012
Crystal ball graphic

The Shape of 2013: Predictions for the Year Ahead

After 15 years of making predictions, with a track record that would have made you rich if you’d bet on them, I’ve been away from the practice for a couple of years. But as the … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / December 19th, 2012
Google maps iPad screenshot

Maps for iOS: What Does Google Have Against Tablets?

Google’s failure to understand that a tablet is something other than a really big phone is becoming one of the great mysteries of the technology world. The Android tablet business has been crippled by a … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / December 13th, 2012
Del XPS Duo 12 Convertible

How To Make Windows 8 Great

There has been a lot of discussion here lately, both in posts such as Why IT buyers are Excited About Convertibles and Hybrids and Microsoft Surface: How Relevant Are Legacy Apps and Hardware? about the failings and the potential … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / December 12th, 2012
IBM 7090 (IBM Corp.)

How I Met My Computer: Technologies That Changed My Life

I got into computers because I was fascinated by a friend’s programming manual. It was at the University of Michigan, probably in early 1966, when I had my first look at The MAD Manual, a beguiling … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / December 12th, 2012
Old photo of women on assembly line (National Park Service)

Why Apple Manufacturing Needs Few Workers

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s announcement that the company would do some Mac assembly in the U.S. brought on a flurry of publicity vastly disproportionate to the importance of the development. It’s good that manufacturers see … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / December 8th, 2012
Windows 8 screen shot

Why Windows 8 Drives Me Nuts

I had a hard drive fail in a couple-year-old ThinkPad this week, so I decided to use the opportunity to install Windows 8 on a completely clean system. The installation was painless except for a … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / December 7th, 2012
IBM, AT&T, and Microsoft logos

Microsoft, IBM, and AT&T: History Comes Around

In his post “Why the Wheels Are Falling Off at Microsoft,” John Kirk paints a bleak picture of the company’s future. It got me thinking about a relevant bit of history about how rich companies … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / December 7th, 2012
Photo of Mobile Health summit echibition

Can Big Data Make Us Healthier?

I spent some time this week at the Mobile Health Summit, an annual Washington event featuring the latest in mobile health-related technologies. The exhibition hall was filled with sensor-based devices that can track blood pressure, … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / December 5th, 2012
Martin Cooper photo (S. Wildstrom)

Marty Cooper’s Billion Dollar Spectrum Contest Idea

It has been almost 40 years since Martin Cooper made the mobile phone call that earned him the title of father of the cell phone. Today he is still active in the industry, looking for … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / December 4th, 2012

Open vs. Closed Systems: What the Future Holds

Since the beginning of the personal computing era. there has been a struggle for dominance between open and closed systems. The early open CP/M computers gave way to the relatively closed Apple ][. The closed … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / November 28th, 2012

The Curious Gap Between Android Market Share and Usage

There’s been plenty of debate in these pages and their comments about who is winning and who is losing in the battles between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Asymco’s Harace Dediu takes a close look at … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / November 26th, 2012
GovBizOpps screenshot

The BlackBerry Death Spiral

    “Notice of Intent to Sole Source iPhone Devices.” That dry headline, from a National Transportation Safety Board post on the Federal Business Opportunities web site, is news about as grim as it can … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / November 21st, 2012

Windows 8: Tepid Marketing–>Slow Sales

Léo Apotheker’s brief, unhappy tenure at Hewlett-Packard is the gift that keeps taking. The highlights of his 10-month reign, which ended in September, 2011, included a loss of $30 billion in market capitalization, the shuttering … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / November 20th, 2012
iOS 6 and Android logos (Apple/Google)

Of Tablets, Phones, and Apps

This began life as a reply to a comment on Part 4 of John Kirk’s “Why Android Is Winning the Battles, But Google Is Losing the War,” but quickly got out of hand. John’s post … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / November 15th, 2012
Windows 8 logo (Microsoft)

After Sinofsky Can Microsoft Move Beyond Windows?

The departure of Windows chief Steven Sinofsky, hard on the heels of the release of Windows 8, came as a shock, but not a surprise. But the important question is less what led to the … Continue reading

Steve Wildstrom / November 14th, 2012