Thursday, January 26, 2006

3G/wi-fi 'swap' cellphones/laptops

Its happening! wi-fi migrates from laptops to mobiles and 3G does the opposite. This is quite a phenomenon in the telecom world!

3G and wi-fi duke it out in dominance? The battle, for sure, in olden days was strictly between TDMA and CDMA. Now telecom professionals are deluding themselves with wi-fi getting into the voice domain and being a part and parcel of telecommunications, or say, the 'GSM family'. Let us all agree for once that wi-fi, being more local/hot-spot oriented, is less ubiquitous than 3G. This standard is not only high speed, but facilitates universal mobillity and uses a totally different technology.
Cingluar launched wi-fi handsets and with google spent on hotspots in SFrancisco. But this only fulfils local needs. Having said that, hey, they still have a very focussed strategy and address both mobile and laptop users. They don't talk too much about it openly and I still am not sure if they will connect through mobile Google talk/SMS or Google Voice just like they did in IM. How? users with wi-fi handsets connect from google service to download geopositioned info in the city. Voice changes the equation, now that it is being coupled with wi-fi.

3G has had a not-so-bad-taste in the other continents fighting for a shift from 2.5G standard. The services were available after a few painful years and licensing/regulatory issues- it still has it's well-deserved brownie points in Europe. I will not deliberately bring up Japan, because that nation's telecom business is inimitable and, yes, a decade ahead of us! They were talking 4G three years ago, while their teens downloaded movies on handsets in less than a minute. Need more obscurity?? CDMA is proliferating in India after having over 50 million GSM users. They compete with GSM/3G operators, while Americans are starting in the reverse order.

Getting back to 3G/wi-fi and general wireless solutions. Our generous laptop-makers after having leveraged wi-fi chips in their laptops(intel) want to get into 3G and UMTS. Dell's announcement to embed Voda's HSDPA chips in thier laptops shows that they do think outside-the-box, especially when 3G is booming in Europe and Asia. Did they realize the US PC/laptop users contrast with European numbers? This ubiquity compared to wi-fi's hotspot-orientation will be fruitful 'back home' for Dell than in Europe, where handheld users beat out Americans:)

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