Blimmin' New York! Not content with a mysterious network of USB art projects, the denizens of the Big Apple also get to try the next generation of mobile before us. American phone operator Sprint has just activated New York City's first 4G network.

What's 4G? Well, it's the next step up from 3G, of course. Though it took years to percolate through the market, 3G's been with us almost a decade, offering video calls (which no-one ever uses) and faster mobile internet (which no-one ever used for ages, but now we use a lot). But if you thought 3G was fast, you'll love 4G, which could see you downloading around 100Mbits of crap off the internet every second while you're on the bus.

So why aren't we showing any signs of it in Europe? The problem is that there are - surprise, surprise - two competing technologies for 4G mobile. The New York network uses WiMax, which operates like a giant Wi-Fi network. Europe is holding out for the rival, LTE- which stands, awesomely, for 'long-term evolution' - a technology that's more like an advanced version of the cellular networks we have now. It'll be better when it's ready, but it won't be ready for primetime for some time yet. And when it is, it won't be cheap...

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