Everest summit now wired with 3G

Everest summit.

The summit of Mount Everest now sports a 3G signal, enabling climbers to access the internet and make video calls from the top.

From the AFP:

Ncell, a subsidiary of Swedish phone giant TeliaSonera, says it has set up a high-speed third-generation (3G) phone base station at an altitude of 5,200 metres (17,000 feet) near Gorakshep village in the Everest region.

“Today we made the (world’s) highest video call from Mount Everest base camp successfully,” Ncell Nepal chief Pasi Koistinen told reporters in Kathmandu on Thursday.

“The coverage of the network will reach up to the peak of the Everest,” he added.
Climbers who reached Everest’s 8,848-metre peak previously depended on expensive and erratic satellite phone coverage and a voice-only network set up by China Mobile in 2007 on the Chinese side of the mountain.

The installation will also help tens of thousands of tourists and trekkers who visit the Everest region every year.

“This is a great milestone for mobile communications as the 3G high speed internet will bring faster, more affordable telecommunication services from the world?s tallest mountain,” said Lars Nyberg, chief executive of TeliaSonera, which owns 80 percent of Ncell.
The 3G services will be fast enough to make video calls and use the Internet, said the company, which also claims the world’s lowest 3G base at 1,400 metres (4,595 feet) below sea level in a mine in Europe.

Digg laid off almost 40% of staff

Digg logo.You don’t have to be a genius to see that Digg is struggling. It’s struggling to survive competition in the form of Twitter and Facebook, but it’s also struggling against itself and the community backlash after recent changes.

Here’s the blog post from the new CEO, Matt Williams:

When I joined Digg six weeks ago, we set an immediate focus on improving the web site. We listened carefully to user feedback and started making changes to generate momentum in our business.

As I mentioned in one of our first all-hands meetings, another top priority was to take a hard look at the entire business, across product, sales, and operations. Through the time I have spent with each of you, I’ve been impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm you’ve shown. I’ve also learned a great deal about what is working well at Digg, and what is broken.

Many things are working well. The team is listening and acting quickly on the feedback from our passionate community. We’ve been able to deliver nimbly on the new platform, with over 100 bug and feature releases to the web site in the past two months. Our Diggable ads product has seen a notable increase in use by advertisers and clicks by users.

Unfortunately, to reach our goals, we have to take some difficult steps. The fact is our business has a burn rate that is too high. We must significantly cut our expenses to achieve profitability in 2011. We’ve considered all of the possible options for reduction, from salaries to fixed costs. The result is that, in addition to lowering many of our operational costs, I’ve made the decision to downsize our staff from 67 to 42 people.

It’s been an incredibly tough decision. I wish it weren’t necessary. However, I know it’s the right choice for Digg’s future success as a business. I’m personally committed to help find new opportunities for everyone affected by the transition. Digg’s Board members have also offered to help find placements within their portfolio companies.

Let’s please use today to show our sincere appreciation for our friends and colleagues who will be moving on. Tomorrow, we’ll go forward with a new strategy for Digg.

White iPhone gets an official delay

White iPhone 4.

This week Apple finally made an official statement regarding the delay of the white iPhone 4 model. It looks like the alternate model won’t be available until spring of next year.

From Reuters:

Apple has never said exactly why the white iPhone has been so troublesome to produce. The company has only said the white model was “more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected.”

Rumors about the white iPhone have been on Apple-focused blogs for months, with explanations ranging from color-matching problems to an issue with the device’s backlight.

Apple didn’t have much to say about the delay, other than, “We’re sorry to disappoint customers waiting for the white iPhone again.” Thanks.

VLC Player now available for the iPhone

If you’ve been looking for a way to play more file formats on your iPhone, you finally can. The VLC player app is now available on the iPhone for free.

From: 9to5 Mac

The Playstation Phone is real

Playstation Phone.

Several blogs have reported that this is indeed a picture of the real and long-rumored Playstation Phone. It’s an Android model, not entirely unlike the new G2, though you can bet it will have some custom skin work to support Playstation branding.

Here’s what Engadget had to say about the phone:

The device snapped up top (and in our gallery below) is sporting a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 (a chip similar to the one found in the G2, but 200MHz faster), 512MB of RAM, 1GB of ROM, and the screen is in the range of 3.7 to 4.1 inches. Looking almost identical to the mockup we hit you with this summer, the handset does indeed have a long touchpad in the center which is apparently multitouch, and you can see in the photos that it’s still bearing those familiar PlayStation shoulder buttons. For Sony buffs, you’ll be interested to know that there’s no Memory Stick slot here, but there is support for microSD cards.

The particular model in these shots is still in prototyping mode. As such, the unit doesn’t have a custom skin (not even SE’s Timescape design seen on the Xperia devices), and is said to be rather buggy. We’re digging into more facts as we speak, but it’s likely that much of what we reported earlier is still accurate, and though the device could still be headed for a 2010 release, 2011 is looking much more realistic.

There are just a couple things worth thinking about for that kind of launch. First, the Verizon iPhone is supposed to land in early 2011, and Windows Phone just launched. While the second might be reason to get a competitor into the market, does Sony really think it won’t be completely eclipsed by a Verizon iPhone release?