Intel adds sleep-mode Wi-Fi connectivity feature to ultrabooks

Devicescape deal lets users update e-mail, other apps even when device isn't open

Devicescape today announced a deal with Intel that will give owners of certain Intel-powered machines "enhanced connectivity" to Devicescape's Wi-Fi network of more than 7 million public hotspots.

As a result of the arrangement, Intel ultrabooks and other devices that feature Intel's Smart Connect Technology will be able to automatically update e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and other apps using Devicescape's Curated Virual Network (CVN) even when the device is in sleep mode.

"It's almost like using a cell phone in that you don't have to scan for networks, start up a web browser or configure your network setting every time you want to connect to the network," says David Fraser, CEO of Devicescape. The CVN even automatically connects to Wi-Fi hotspots that require some sort of login.

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DeviceScape has built up the CVN using Wi-Fi hotspots at coffee shops, libraries, airports and the like. Using the Intel's Smart Connect Technology, devices can then be configured to constantly connect to that network. That allows any range of applications, from e-mail to social media to geotracking to be updated whether the lid of the laptop is up or down.

Devicescape says it is adding an estimated 30,000 Wi-Fi locations a day, and Daryl Schoolar, a wireless infrastructure analyst with Ovum, says that could grow with the Intel deal.

"Getting the software out on more laptops will open up their network to greater discovery and more access points," he says. "And the more access points they know of the more good access points they'll have."

Devicescape does testing of hotspot connections to ensure their quality, but Schoolar says the quality of the network has been what's holding back telecom carriers from adopting the technology. While there are other connection managers, such as Smith Micro on the market, he says being able to connect to a network of Wi-FI hotspots anytime is unique.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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