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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Google Working On Undersea Cables For Broadband

Google finally confirmed the rumors of turning to undersea cables and announced that, together with other five associates will start “Unity”, a trans-Pacific undersea fiber-optic cable linking the United States and Japan. The investment will cost approximately $300 million and became necessary as the demand and the current capacity of the trans-Pacific cables tent towards an imbalance.

The international consortium includes Bharti Airtel, India’s leading integrated telecom service provider, Global Transit, a South Asian network operator, KDDI, a Japanese information and communication company, Pacnet, leading Asian telecom service provider, SingTel, an Asian leading communications group covering areas of Europe, U.S. and Asia Pacific, and of course Google.

The 10,000 kilometer cable, which has been designed as a five fiber pair cable system, each fiber with a 960Gbps capability, will link Chikura, near Tokyo, to Los Angeles and the West Coast and is expected to meet the new demands in data and Internet traffic.

“The Unity cable system allows the members of the consortium to provide the increased capacity needed as more applications and services migrate online, giving users faster and more reliable connectivity,” Unity spokesperson Jayne Stowell said in a statement.

The cable system is expected to respond to the demand in data and Internet traffic between the two continents and raise the current capacity by 20 percent, according to Google, and potentially add up to 7.68 Tbps of bandwidth.

The construction is to begin immediately, after an official agreement has already been signed on February 23 in Tokyo. NEC Corporation and Tyco Telecommunications will be responsible for constructing and installing the cable system, which is set to become available in the first quarter of 2010.

Google is not the only one to have made such an initiative, as other lines, involving the names of Verizon and AT&T are already under construction or under way. And it’s no wonder, since the average growth in bandwidth demand is up 64 percent almost every year, and is expected to double within the next 5 years.

Flexible Thinking, Nanotechnology Lead to Nokia’s “Morph” Concept Phone

Nokia has built a flexible mobile phone using nanotechnology which the company says will become increasingly commonplace in the future.

The Morph device can be used as a keyboard, then bent around the wrist and worn as a bracelet.

The handset giant first touted the system five years ago and it has taken researchers at the Nokia Research Centre in Cambridge this long to get a working prototype.

Dr Tapani Ryhanen, head of the research centre, said: "We hope that this combination of art and science will showcase the potential of nanoscience to a wider audience.

"The research we are carrying out is fundamental to this as we seek a safe and controlled way to develop and use new materials."

Nokia claimed that the technology will be in mainstream phones by 2015, but that there are technical challenges still to overcome. Chief among these is power, and Nokia is investigating the use of new battery materials.

Professor Mark Welland, head of the Nanoscience Group at the University of Cambridge, said: "Developing the Morph concept with Nokia has provided us with a focus that is artistically inspirational and sets the technology agenda for our joint nanoscience research."

Nokia Research Center and the University of Cambridge announced a research partnership, and here we have the first fruits of their labor, though this is far from being ready for consumers.

The Morph is a nanotechnology-based concept phone. It’s flexible and stretchable, has self-cleaning surfaces and transparent electronics, has solar charging. It’s so flexible it can even wrap around your wrist when not in use. Give it the ability to wrap around your wrist when in use, a webcam feature and you’ve got yourself a Dick Tracy wrist TV.

The Morph is on display from February 25th through May 12, 2008, at the “Design and the Elastic Mind” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

While I wouldn’t expect to see any of this tech anytime soon, Nokia does say it is possible at least some elements of its design could see the light of day in actual phones within the next seven years.

And people wonder how Nokia keeps its market-leading position.

Watch a video with the Morph in “action”:

Adobe Rolls Out Air 1.0

Adobe Systems on Monday formally released Adobe AIR, Flex 3 and BlazeDS technologies for enabling the rapid development of rich Internet applications (RIAs).

With these technologies, developers can create applications that run online or offline and across any platform.

AIR was developed under the codename of "Apollo." Its main competition for building RIAs isJavaFX from Sun Microsystems and Silverlight from Microsoft.

However, Adrian Ludwig, group product manager for Adobe AIR, noted some differences.

"Silverlight isn't on the desktop. It's more of a competitor to Flash. The key to AIR is coming from the Web to the desktop. Compared to JavaFX, we delivered something. We're out there. JavaFX is not," he told

Indeed, the ability to develop a Web-based application and then use that exact same code to create a desktop application—no rewrite necessary—is a key selling point on AIR.
It's designed to be cross-platform, as Java is, requiring a just-in-time compiler on those different platforms. The tradeoff is a minor performance hit but it's not noticeable, said Ludwid.

Adobe's RIA technologies include tools, frameworks, servers, services and runtimes for building applications quickly without requiring a lot of programming skill. They use all the latest Web technologies, many of which have come from Adobe, like Flash, Flex and PDF as well as HTML and AJAX.

Flex is a free, open-source framework for building RIAs. Adobe Flex Builder 3 is focused mostly on adding new features for developers as opposed to user-oriented features. This includes an enhanced debugger, memory and usage profiling and integration with Adobe's creativity suites, such as Photoshop.

Making the framework open source is designed to appeal to developers. "It allows developers to be confident they can develop on it," said Ludwig. "They can go into the framework and make modifications to it, customize it to their environment."

"It's no longer a proprietary Adobe framework," he added. "It's about embracing developers outside of Adobe who want to make it better, for their use or the greater good of all of us."

BlazeDS is an accompanying technology for Flex that is a data services layer to relay information between clients and back-end services. Like Flex, it's open source and available for download from Adobe.

Ludwig said Adobe, with this release, has added a remoting protocol so clients can call services and applications on the server.

Adobe launched AIR, Flex and BlazeDS on Monday at its Engage event in San Francisco, a show designed to showcase Internet application development. A number of firms announced AIR-based applications, including AOL, The New York Times Co. and NASDAQ. made a little news of its own, announcing the new Toolkit for Adobe AIR and Flex, which would allow for developing RIAs on's platform. Developers will have direct access to the Web services API to create applications in AIR's rapid application development language while having the power of a serverside application.

For Robert Blatt, vice president and general manager of AOL's personal media division, AIR had three things the other RIA technologies didn't have. "First is the cross-platform nature of it and the ability to build an app you could deploy in browsers and a desktop. While other technologies can do that if you try real hard, with AIR it just works so that reduces our development time," he told

Secondly, he said, is the ubiquity of Adobe's technology. "Their technology is already on the consumer's desktop and they don't have to download any more technology to get it to work. The last thing is they are doing a fantastic job erasing the boundaries of online and offline, and for my application that's absolutely essential," he said.

Turning an application loose on a desktop could be a risky proposition, as many security experts have raised concerns regarding Web 2.0's permissive nature, but Blatt has confidence in AIR. "There are valid concerns but I feel Adobe has done a nice job of limiting the capability and informing the consumer so that they don't download stuff to stuff to their computer they don't want," he said.

The new online/offline platform from Adobe serves as a stepping stone for Web 2.0 applications to migrate to the desktop.

Delivering on its promise to merge online and offline content with the project once code-named “Apollo,” Adobe released the first version of the newly renamed Air on Monday, a technology designed to bring both worlds together. Adobe Air effectively allows previously online-only services to offer dedicated applications that can work with or without an Internet connection.

For instance, one of the first Adobe Air offerings, EBay Desktop, allows users to manage and sort through auctions using a more powerful interface than the one available online. It enables features such as instant updates on auction changes and live feeds of interesting auctions as they appear that were not previously possible with the version of eBay constrained to a browser window. Another application, Buzzword, serves as a word processor that seamlessly allows users to save content online or off. The Monday launch brought Air-driven programs from a host of other companies, including Nasdaq, Nickelodeon, and AOL.

Like Adobe’s older standard for online application development, the ubiquitous Flash, Air is totally free to download. Unlike Flash, the Air software developer’s kit is also free, allowing amateur developers to dabble in Adobe’s software environment without paying and likely expanding the library of available applications. Both the Air client and Air SDK can be found at Adobe’s Air download page, while a list of available applications is also available through Adobe.

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