Motorola, Verizon Wireless launch PDA to compete with Blackberry

Motorola and Verizon Wireless announced the availability of the MOTO Q, a new hand-held device being touted as the newest competition to Research in Motion’s BlackBerry personal digital assistant. The device offers integrated Bluetooth 1.2 wireless technology for communicating with compatible headsets, car kits and other devices, as well as EV-DO access for data downloads. The hand-held runs on Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 software and lets users check e-mail and review documents over Verizon Wireless’ BroadbandAccess network, Motorola said.

Chicago-area communities deploy mobile broadband network

Six Chicago-area communities deployed a regional, mobile broadband network using Alvarion’s Breeze Access 900 system, which supports fixed and mobile public-safety applications for law enforcement and firefighting efforts. The network connects 50 police cars and 15 fire vehicles and provides users with remote access to database information and surveillance video, according to Alvarion. The company also announced ENTEL Chile is implementing the first WiMAX network in the country using Alvarion’s BreezeMax 3500, a WiMAX platform that meets IEEE 802.16 standards and uses OFMD technology to deliver non-line-of-sight functionality.

Washington state utility chooses VoIP console system

Zetron’s end-to-end, VoIP console system was deployed at Puget Sound Energy, Washington state’s largest energy utility. The system was designed in concert with the utility’s engineering communications group and includes 14 VHF radio channels and six EDACS talk groups, according to Zetron.

Sprint Nextel positions emergency response teams in hurricane-prone zones

In preparation for this year’s hurricane season, Sprint Nextel is expanding the scope of its emergency response team, which helps public-safety agencies coordinate communications during emergencies. The team is deploying SATCOLTs and related staff in southern states and will provide to first responders—for a fee—access to interoperable, terrestrial-to-satellite services, according to the company. The SATCOLTs are 27-foot-long self-propelled vehicles that contain a 60-foot pneumatic mast, a 15 kW generator and 200 gallons of generator fuel that can keep systems running for up to 12 days. The mobile communication centers provide links to Ku-band satellites to connect to Sprint Nextel switches, which in turn deliver connectivity to the carrier's iDEN (push-to-talk), CDMA and packet data networks.

Seattle implements wireless-mesh network

The City of Seattle chose Cellnet’s wireless-mesh network and electric and water endpoints for advanced metering capabilities. The company’s two-way, fixed-network, AMI solution will be owned and operated by Seattle City Light in an initiative to deploy smart metering technology to support high-tech, medical research and mixed use commercial, retail and residential redevelopment in the city, according to Cellnet.

Pa. state police start pilot public-safety radio system program

The Pennsylvania State Police’s Lancaster barracks started a pilot program to test a new, statewide public-safety radio system to give troopers, first responders and local officials the ability to coordinate response efforts more effectively, according to the department. The Governor’s Office of Administration and Office of Public Radio Systems worked in conjunction with M/A-COM to build the system. When fully implemented, the 800 MHz radio system will let troopers communicate directly with the state’s Department of Transportation, Department of Health and other agencies. Troopers also will be able to bridge to other first responder radio systems, including municipal police and county dispatch centers.

StarChase partners with Australian systems integrator

StarChase signed a $1.2 million contract with Metal Storm Limited of Brisbane, Australia, to serve as the systems integrator for the commercialization of the company’s tagging-and-tracking pursuit management technology. Under terms of the contract, the two companies will pursue broader national and international markets for the StarChase GPS/GSM tracking technology.