Report: Four carriers fight for fastest 3G and 4G speeds, only two debut on top

 

PC World tested 3G and 4G wireless data transfer speeds for the top four carriers —both indoors and outside with multiple devices across 13 major cities in 130 testing locations— and discovered some surprising results.

During average wireless speed tests for 3G networks with the smartphones pictured below, T-Mobile took home the fastest download and upload speed prize at 3.84 Mbps and 1.44 Mbps, respectively. AT&T landed the No. 2 spot with its 2.62 Mbps download speed and 0.85-Mbps upload speed.

The slower 3G network provider reclaimed its pride and rose to fame with its 4G wireless speeds, however. AT&T garnered 9.56 Mbps while downloading and 5.15 Mbps for uploads. Verizon debuted at second with its 7.35 Mbps download speed and 5.86 Mbps upload speed.

The overall winners are named below.

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Upcoming Apple TV to feature low-power Bluetooth 4.0 technology, opens door to new, more advanced input devices

When Apple ships new hardware elements in a product, they typically have good reason. With the future of wireless input devices flashing forward, Apple has realized that the next-generation of Bluetooth – Bluetooth Smart (4.0) – will be the ticket to Apple being a part of this integrated wireless future. Apple demonstrated this with the release of this Bluetooth 4.0-powered phone – the new iPhone 4S – and also with the addition of bluetooth 4.0 in the latest versions of the popular MacBook Air and Mac mini computers.

More evidence for a next-generation Apple TV:

The next-generation Apple TV, the one we first revealed as Apple TV 3,1 with the J33 codename, will include Bluetooth 4.0 technology. Before even getting into the advantages of Bluetooth 4.0, it is worth noting that our code-based finding in iOS 5.1 beta 1 of a next-generation Apple TV with Bluetooth 4.0 is further evidence that an Apple TV refresh will soon be upon us.

The advantages of Bluetooth 4.0: 

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Apple’s Sprint-compatible iPad appears ready and waiting for launch

Apple and Sprint have completed work on a version of the iPad for Sprint’s data network. This Sprint compatible iPad appears to be ready for public consumption and will join the family of GSM (AT&T) and Verizon capable Apple tablets before the holidays. With Apple soon launching a Sprint version of the iPhone – which we independently confirmed in June – we suspect that the Sprint iPad will come alongside or soon after that release. The iPhone 5 release is still scheduled for October 7th according to our source (and others), but changes/delays are always possible.

The first week of October date for the new iPhone’s availability fits nicely with our report about AT&T’s major early October changes: data throttling and a new insurance plan for $199 devices.

The Sprint version of the iPad is completely separate from the CDMA Verizon model.  We can’t confirm that this new iPad will run on Sprint’s powerful 4G WiMAX network, but the question begs to be asked: Why would Apple build a new iPad for Sprint and not use the CDMA iPad that Verizon already carries?  A report yesterday from TUAW seemed to imply that a 4G iPad from Sprint would be happening at some point.

What’s perhaps most enticing about the Sprint iPad (besides the possibility of 4G) is that Sprint is a lot more generous with its data plans, perhaps offering iPad users once again a truly unlimited data option.

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Clear stops selling iSpot 4G Mifi for iOS devices

Clear discontinued the iSpot personal 4G hotspot for iOS devices yesterday.  The iSpot was easily hacked to work like its more expensive counterpart with all computers and even had trouble with some iPads without hacking.

Clear recently dropped the price of the iSpot by 80% and will continue selling them until they sell out of retail inventory.

Sprint (who own 54% of Clear) is also about to announce a new Mifi device which may also account for the iSpot discontinuation (below).  One major drawback of the iSpot is that it only works in the few spots that have Clear 4G, it doesn’t drop down to 3G if you leave a 4G area.  The new device, which also uses Sprint’s 3G network, does.

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Hacking 4G for fun and profit (and Mac compatibility!)

If you are the adventurous type and want 4G wireless (and it is available in your place of residence), you now have a few more options, thanks to your friendly neighborhood hackerz.

If 4G WiMAX from Sprint is what your are after, you can pick up the Clear iSpot for $100 and connect all of your (up to 8 ) iOS devices to it for $25/month (deal!).  However a simple hack allows you to take it a bit further and connect those bandwidth-heavy Macs (and PCs and Androids and Linux if you are into that sort of thing) to your $25/month iSpot.  The hack releases the MAC address restrictions which ironically include the latest batch of iPads…yes that’s right, it will only work as intended if hacked.  Be warned however that Sprint could take it all away with an over the air update to their little iSpot…unless you are savvy enough to change your Mac MAC address.

If, for whatever reason, you were after Verizon’s USB 4G Wireless service on your Macs, you are officially out of luck.  However, a hack developed within the gardens of Howard Forums allows one of the two USB Modems (Pantech) to work on the Mac.  Verizon is said to be working on an official Mac version of the drivers for both modems so this would just be a holdover until the better drivers/setup come along.

Now, is anyone thinking about replacing their Broadband connection with 4G Wireless? Read more