Early Adopters Scream: I Want My Converged Handset! - InformationWeek

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6/13/2007
10:16 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Early Adopters Scream: I Want My Converged Handset!

Okay, that may not be the sexiest rallying cry ever uttered, but In-Stat insists that the early adopter crowd in the U.S. wants Wi-Fi on board whatever device replaces their current phone. The impetus behind the demand? Techies want to be able to take advantage of VoIP services. Do businesses fall into that

Okay, that may not be the sexiest rallying cry ever uttered, but In-Stat insists that the early adopter crowd in the U.S. wants Wi-Fi on board whatever device replaces their current phone. The impetus behind the demand? Techies want to be able to take advantage of VoIP services. Do businesses fall into that mix?Nearly 50% of U.S. early adopters are planning to replace their phones with Wi-Fi enabled devices. And they plan to do more than use the Wi-Fi simply to avoid using their network operator's wireless data networks. It's all about VoIP, baby! VoIP will be gi-normous. The number of converged handsets shipped with some form of SIP voice support is forecasted to exceed 50 million by 2011, according to In-Stat.

"In the years ahead, dual-mode VoIP-capable phone systems will have increasing competition from other technologies, like femtocells for cellular coverage, but widespread Wi-Fi deployment and the variety of Wi-Fi/Cellular handsets offers Wi-Fi/Cellular-based systems a significant head start in the market," said Allen Nogee, In-Stat principal analyst in a prepared statement. "Other technologies, such as WiMAX and Ultra Wideband, are also poised to enter the handset market, but Wi-Fi fills a unique niche that WiMAX and UWB cannot match."

I wasn't part of the In-Stat survey, but I agree wholeheartedly with the results. My next phone will have Wi-Fi. Period. There's just no compromising on that spec. The problem right now is that my choices are severely limited. That's all set to change, though, according to In-Stat. The number of Wi-Fi-enabled handsets on the market will surpass 100 models by the end of the year. The survey is mum on the breakdown of enterprise early adopters, but I would bet a nice chunk of the early adopter set would be using their devices for business purposes. As evidenced by the large trade shows earlier this year, smartphones are going to represent a larger and larger portion of the overall phone market. And smartphones are the most likely candidates to include Wi-Fi. That means business users, as well as prosumers, will be leading the charge.

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