Author: Carrie Mihalcik


Niantic CEO blames Pokemon Go Fest mess on mobile carriers

2017 Pokemon GO Fest Chicago

Niantic CEO John Hanke at Pokemon Go Fest in Grant Park in Chicago.

Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

The first Pokemon Go[1] Fest in Chicago on Saturday was a hot mess — like Charizard hot.

Who’s to blame? Niantic CEO John Hanke said software problems prevented some players from being able to connect to the game, but the biggest issue was congested mobile networks.

Pokemon Go Fest[2] was supposed to bring fans of the AR game together to pursue colorful Pokemon creatures. Instead, gamers at the ticketed event complained they couldn’t access the mobile app[3] and bemoaned long lines that caused them to miss significant goings-on. When Hanke went on stage during the event, he was greeted with boos and chants of “We can’t play.”

Hanke laid out what went wrong with the Chicago event in a lengthy blog post Tuesday[4]. While a game software problem was “resolved” quickly, Hanke said many players were unable to access Pokemon Go or the internet throughout the day due to network congestion.

“A more protracted problem was caused by oversaturation of the mobile data networks of some network providers,” wrote Hanke in the post. “This caused many attendees to be unable to access Pokemon GO or other Internet services.”

Hanke said the major carriers were provided detailed estimates on attendance and required data. He added that some carriers also “deployed Cellular on Wheels (COWs) to extend their capacity.” Apparently this still wasn’t enough to support the crowd of Pokemon Go players.

Niantic offered to refund tickets to the event and gave all attendees $100 in Pokecoins, the app’s in-game currency, and a Legendary Pokemon[5]. Hanke said the company would use this as a learning experience for several more Pokemon Go events scheduled this summer. 

Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech’s role in providing new kinds of accessibility.[6]

Batteries Not Included: The CNET team reminds us why tech is cool.[7]


  1. ^ Pokemon Go (
  2. ^ Pokemon Go Fest (
  3. ^ complained they couldn’t access the mobile app (
  4. ^ a lengthy blog post Tuesday (
  5. ^ Legendary Pokemon (
  6. ^ Tech Enabled (
  7. ^ Batteries Not Included (

Qualcomm: Apple supporters are trying to misdirect regulators


Qualcomm wants the US International Trade Commission to ban the import of certain iPhones that don’t use Qualcomm’s chips.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Qualcomm[1] is defending itself against critics who say its patent[2] dispute with Apple[3] is really about quashing competition.

Earlier this month Qualcomm filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission, accusing Apple’s iPhones of infringing six of its mobile patents[4]. As part of the filing, Qualcomm wants the ITC to ban the import of certain iPhones[5] that don’t use Qualcomm chips, as well as ban Apple from selling devices it has already brought into the US. That would include iPhone 7[6] and 7 Plus[7] models running on AT&T and T-Mobile, as well as certain iPads. Those devices use Intel[8]‘s 4G chips, while phones[9] from other carriers like Verizon use Qualcomm’s processors.

Last week, Intel and others critics accused Qualcomm of trying to use the courts to snuff out competition[10]. In a public statement to the ITC, Intel described itself as “Qualcomm’s only remaining competitor” in the mobile chip market. The Computer & Communications Industry Association — a trade group that represents Google, Amazon, Facebook and other tech companies — also urged the ITC to reject Qualcomm’s proposed ban[11], saying it would harm consumers by enabling anti-competitive behavior.

In response to those comments, Qualcomm said its critics are waging a “coordinated effort aimed at misdirecting” the ITC.

In a filing with the trade regulator Monday, the company argued that its proposed important ban isn’t about competition with Intel. Qualcomm called the mobile chip market “robust” and said “Apple can purchase and utilize any LTE modem it chooses so long as it does not infringe Qualcomm’s asserted patents.”

Instead, Qualcomm said, the import ban is about Apple devices that infringe “technologies relating to the design, structure, and operation of products with envelope tracking technology, voltage shifter circuitry, flashless boot, power management circuitry, enhanced carrier aggregation, and graphics processing units.”

Apple and Qualcomm have been fighting over patents since January, when Apple filed suit against Qualcomm[12] in the US and said the wireless chipmaker didn’t give fair licensing terms for its technology. It wants to pay a lower amount for using Qualcomm technology in its devices.

Qualcomm, the world’s biggest provider of mobile chips, maintains[13] that no modern handset — including the iPhone[14] — would have been possible “without relying upon Qualcomm’s fundamental cellular technologies.” The company derives a significant portion of its revenue from licensing that technology to hundreds of handset manufacturers and others.

Qualcomm declined to comment beyond the filing. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

It’s Complicated: This is dating in the age of apps. Having fun yet? These stories get to the heart of the matter.[15]

Does the Mac still matter? Apple execs tell why the MacBook Pro[17] was over four years in the making, and why we should care.[16]


  1. ^ Qualcomm (
  2. ^ patent (
  3. ^ Apple (
  4. ^ accusing Apple’s iPhones of infringing six of its mobile patents (
  5. ^ ban the import of certain iPhones (
  6. ^ iPhone 7 (
  7. ^ 7 Plus (
  8. ^ Intel (
  9. ^ phones (
  10. ^ accused Qualcomm of trying to use the courts to snuff out competition (
  11. ^ urged the ITC to reject Qualcomm’s proposed ban (
  12. ^ Apple filed suit against Qualcomm (
  13. ^ maintains (
  14. ^ iPhone (
  15. ^ It’s Complicated (
  16. ^ Does the Mac still matter? (
  17. ^ MacBook Pro (

White House supports FCC plan to dismantle net neutrality

Protesters in front of the US Capitol

Protesters gathered in front of the US Capitol to tell lawmakers they want them to protect net neutrality regulation. 

Demand Progress

The White House on Tuesday got behind the Federal Communication Commission’s plan to roll back net neutrality regulations.

“We support the FCC chair’s efforts to review and consider rolling back these rules, and believe that the best way to get fair rules for everyone is for Congress to take action and create regulatory and economic certainty,” said Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a White House press briefing[1].

In May, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai introduced a proposal[2] to return broadband to its previous classification and wipe away existing net neutrality rules. The Obama-era rules were crafted to prevent broadband companies from favoring their own content over competitors’ services.

The regulations have been controversial[3] because the FCC changed the classification of broadband in order to treat it like a public utility. Broadband and wireless companies say the regulations impose on the internet an outdated law designed for the old telephone network.

“The previous administration went about this the wrong way by imposing rules on ISPs through the FCC’s Title II rulemaking power,” said Sanders.

In response to the planned overhaul, the FCC has received a record-breaking 7.4 million comments[4]. Roughly 2 million of those comments were filed last Wednesday[5], when thousands of activists, individuals and tech companies participated in an online “Day of Action”[6] in support of an open internet. 

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