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CTIA Wireless ’08 – Merging and Leapfrogging Technologies

by April 01, 2008

The mobile-device industry’s annual US trade show powers up today at the Las Vegas Convention Center. In this era of merging technologies, it’s difficult to imagine an industry that hasn’t been touched by mobile devices. With iPod ports breeding like flies in spring, the most significant merger in the last several years has been mobile devices and music. But now get ready for mobile devices and online social media. 

At least one journalist at the event today asked the tough question to a panel of Smartphone vendors. 

Why has it taken so long to get Wi-Fi into US mobile devices? 

The conspiracy theory is obvious. North America has held an especially tight cap on mobile network bandwith. That’s especially true in Canada where mobile carrier fees are downright criminal.

Using a smart mobile device over alternate wireless networks takes revenue directly from the fees of company’s like Verizon and AT&T. Wi-fi on a mobile device isn’t just for downloading files and browsing the web. Any Smartphone (that can run third party applications, sorry iPhone) will run an app called Skype that lets you make free long distance phone calls over Wi-Fi. 

Vendors usually give the most attention to consumer oriented mobile features at CTIA. Mobile technologies that want to integrate with Facebook and other popular online social media spaces are sure to be all the rage. Even at the expense of business developments that have proven more profitable.

In-Stat wireless research analyst Bill Hughes has made a case for significantly higher profit per-user in the Enterprise sector over the consumer sector. So why don’t vendors at an event like CTIA focus more on big business? 

The answer is probably because enterprise services lack sex appeal. Last year Apple dominated wireless news headlines with a device that sidesteps business completely. 

Let’s face it - iPhone’s cool touch screen interface is more interesting than Symbian 9.5 supporting terabyte-sized SQL databases. 

Leapfrogger 

Another term you might hear syncing with wireless technologies this year is the concept of leapfrogging technology. No, that’s not a new game for your T-Mobile device. It refers to skipping over older technologies to get to the latest. 

The Smartphone is about to completely overtake the cell phone. In fact many believe the very term Smartphone is already redundant.  

Cell AfricaIt’s believed that people all over the world that have never owned a PC might get their first computer in the form of a handheld. Why not? A consumer priced Smartphone today has as much computing power as any PC did five years ago. But instead of a desktop box with a Smartphone you’ll get a form factor you can slip into your pocket.

A recent estimate put the number of wireless phone users worldwide at some 3 billion. That’s close to half the Earth’s population! Wireless networks have become available in parts of the world that never had a hard wired infrastructure. This is especially true in third world countries. Erect a few towers and you can cover an area in digital wireless communication.  

Multi-wireless digital network compatible Smartphones as powerful as PCs - they’re destined to even make the sickeningly ubiquitous iPod port useless. 

Example... 

At my home I can use a Windows Mobile applet to control my SlimServer (service for Squeezebox) via Wi-Fi. The net result is total control of music on my home theater system using my Smartphone from anywhere I can obtain an IP.

After the initial wow factor wears off you can kick back on the couch and control your rig the old fashioned way…dusty infrared remote in one hand while warming a beer with the other.

About the author:

Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

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