Nokia’s Android X Phones To Stir Things Up

Nokia, Microsoft’s largest mobile partner and recent acquisition, has released their X handsets, a series of three lower-end, Android based devices set to take on the mass market.

Nokia explains that originally, the idea was to introduce devices that are the evolutionary step between Asha, the company’s low-end model and a Windows-based phone. It aimed to produce handsets for their Lumia brand of Windows phones, endorse Microsoft systems and get people to purchase Windows Phones in the long run. The new handsets mirror those of their well-known model Lumia 250 (Windows based as well) with just a few minor differences.

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AGL Warns Gas Plants May Close

As consumers face a doubling of gas prices, AGL has warned that a number of Australian gas-fired baseload power plants may close as a result.

AGL’s chief executive, Michael Fraser, said some baseload gas plants like Origin’s Darling Downs plant and some of the Braemer plants (all in QLD), Tallawarra (NSW), and Pelican Point (SA) will not survive under a high-gas-price, low-carbon-price scenario.

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ACCC to Put Speedometer on NBN Service Providers

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will set up a formal monitoring program to ensure customers get the NBN internet connection speeds promised by retail service providers.

Customers are reporting significant fluctuations in their Internet speeds using the NBN. Katia Zanutta had signed up to a 50Mbps plan but recorded three different speeds on her new NBN connection from three different speed test services – 46.3Mbps on, 36.8 on CNet, and an average 45.9 on ozspeedtest.

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What do People Really do in a Minute Online?

An analysis by QMee and mycleveragency has put a typical online minute under the microscope – and the results are surprising.

In those fleeting 60 seconds, we sent 204 million emails, performed 2 million Google searches, and sent 278,000 Tweets.

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The End of the Home Phone

A recent survey has found that the home phone is slowly disappearing from homes around Australia. CoreData’s Telco Research 2013 report found that one in seven Australians do not have a home phone, and 30% make Internet-based calls.

While 86% of those surveyed still have a home phone, over half of these people use it only sometimes. They expressed a preference for their mobile phone or other means of communications.

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Google’s Floating Wireless Network

Project Loon, Google’s floating wireless network, is a project that aims to deliver Internet access to different parts of the planet using floating balloons. The balloons are to be powered by solar panels, which means that they will generate their own power and won’t need to be retrieved to replace their power sources.

According to the website, the balloons are designed to be carried up high into the stratosphere by the wind. They will float twice as high as aeroplanes, remaining beyond even the reach of the weather. In the event of a major disaster or natural event that disables earth-bound cables or infrastructure, the ‘Loon balloons’ can provide Internet access to people around the world

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Under-Connected Regions to Access Satellite Internet

Nearly 180 ‘under-connected’ countries will have access to cost-effective, fast broadband Internet thanks to a new satellite Internet project. The project, named O3b for the ‘other 3 billion’, has already launched 4 of its 12 satellites into space.

In a statement made prior to the first in a series of launches, Chief Technical Officer of O3b Brian Holz suggested that the new network could change many lives. Internet pioneer Greg Wyler created O3b after travelling through Rwanda in 2007 and experienced ongoing frustration with its substandard telecommunications services.

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NBN Wholesale Price Checks Proposed by ACCC

The ACCC recently revealed that negotiations on conditions and prices for telecommunications companies access the NBN are in the final stages. The negotiations, which are being designed to cover conditions for the next 30 years, have been in the works for the past three years.

In April, the ACCC rejected NBN Co’s proposals on various issues. According to ACCC chairman Rod Sims, the negotiations should be finalised by August. Among the draft changes being proposed by the ACCC is the option for them to review prices for the NBN in the first decade.

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Preview of Google Glass

Curiosity is mounting in regards to Google’s wearable computer, Google Glass. Google recently released a FAQ to answer some of the question it has received about the upcoming product, which is set to be released sometime next year.

One of the points made by Google is that Google Glass has been designed to relieve people from the monotonous task of pulling out and replacing their smartphones. The intention behind the product is not 24-hour connectivity, but using technology more efficiently.

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Internet Services Challenge Free-to-Air Networks

A report by PwC has found that free-to-air networks will face increasing challenges from Internet-based film and TV services. The report, titled the Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook 2013-2017, suggested that Netflix will enter the Australian market in the coming years.

The report highlighted the fact that Netflix sees Australia as an attractive market for its services. The US streaming service has already established a presence after opening its business to Australian credit cards.

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