Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Galaxy Nexus phone has a barometer, but what good is it?

Most people know that barometers have something to do with weather, but what good is having a barometer in your phone? According to BOSCH, it can and will be used for the following things:

BMP180 target applications
  • Indoor navigation
  • GPS-enhancement for dead-reckoning, slope detection, etc.
  • Sport devices, e.g. altitude profile
  • Weather forecast
  • Vertical velocity indication (rise/sink speed)
The spec sheet for the BOSCH BMP180 barometer is here.

I'm looking forward to seeing what developers can create to take advantage of this new sensor. I'm still hoping that a wind speed sensor gets put into a smartphone sometime soon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

"4G" data speeds on the space coast of FL

T-Mobile "4G" HSPA+(42): 8-15 Mbps
T-Mobile "4G" HSPA+(21): 5-9 Mbps
T-Mobile "4G" HSPA+(14): 3-7.5 Mbps

AT&T 3G: 0.5-1.8 Mbps
AT&T "4G" HSPA+ (21): 1.5-4.5 Mbps

MetroPCS 4G LTE: 1.2-4 Mbps

Verizon 3G: 0.5-2 Mbps
Verizon 4G LTE: appears to be coming in 2012

Sprint 3G: 0.1-1.8 Mbps
Sprint 4G Wimax: appears likely to never come to the space coast
Sprint 4G LTE: appears to be coming in 2013

Most all of the upload speeds appeared to be capped at or near 1-2 Mbps. But often were much lower in actual use, often 0.1-0.5 Mbps. Generally though, most uploads can run in the background and don't cause you to wait for them to complete like downloads do.

*Disclaimer: speeds are affected by many factors and are subject to change. This is in no way a representation of all possible scenarios or locations/towers. Carriers are constantly upgrading towers and bandwidth, so speeds should improve over time. This is only a snapshot of the testing that I personally have been able to perform over the last 2 weeks.

I have learned that Sprint 3G towers are being upgraded in this area between 10/31 and 11/15 of this year. I don't have detailed information about tower upgrades for other carriers.