Prohibitions against phones likely to stay in place
The US Federal Aviation Administration is hoping to announce looser restrictions on in-flight use of portable electronics by the end of 2013, according to sources for the New York Times. The people belong to an industry working group set up by the FAA, and add that the latter is specifically considering allowing reading devices during takeoff and landing, including tablets and e-readers. Devices may still have to be set to Airplane mode, though, and cellphones are expected to remain off-limits.
LightSquared, the company that attempted to build out a nationwide 4G network, has filed for bankruptcy in a Manhattan court on Monday. The project was met with resistance from regulators, who argued that the proposed spectrum would interfere with GPS signals. The company was facing other troubles, with its chief Philip Falcone, stepping down at the end of April at the request of the company's shareholders.
Boeing secure Android phone due late 2012
Boeing has confirmed in a conversation that it's developing a very secure Android phone for governments and corporations. The unnamed hardware is intended to give access to everyday apps while still keeping communications under tight guard, Network and Space Systems president Roger Krone told National Defense. The details of the hardware weren't mentioned, but it would be much lower than previous-generation super-secure phones and above the cost of everyday Android phones.
Qualcomm pushes for 300Gbps in-flight broadband
Mobile chip and network gear maker Qualcomm has now proposed an in-flight wireless network that would bring speeds as fast as 300Gbps. It would use spectrum in the 14GHz to 14.5GHz bands for this, and the so-called Next-Gen AG system would use about 150 towers located throughout the US. The network would use familiar airwave techniques to get ther, including a time division duplex communications mode and orthogonal multiplexing, which stitches together multiple signals into a coherent whole.
Boeing says GoGo Wi-Fi interferes in some tests
Boeing has found one of the few instances of Wi-Fi interfering with an airliner's equipment, tipsters said Thursday. The 737NG aircraft's Honeywell Phase 3 Display Units blank out when close to a strong Wi-Fi signal, including the GoGo in-flight Internet access system. FlightGlobal understood that Boeing had temporarily frozen GoGo installs on all its planes.
Air New Zealand plane redesigns announced
As part of its long-term and comprehensive aircraft revamp, Air New Zealand has added PC power, USB and iPod connections to its economy seats, along with an improved sleep pillow. Fliers making the long, 12-hour flights from California to Auckland will now be able to charge notebooks, smartphones and other devices for most of the trip.
Lufthansa intros FlyNet in-flight data service
Airline Lufthansa revealed it will soon offer improved cellphone and Internet services on its long-distance flights, bettering those offered from other airlines. According to a Monday WSJ report (subscription required), the German company will partner with Panasonic to offer the connection services, called FlyNet, on flights between Europe and North America in the next few months before expanding the service to all of its planes and routes.