Almost 25% of respondents to In-Stat's online survey said "no thanks" to the idea of phones powered solely by Wi-Fi. The rest of the respondents indicated only minimal interest. Is the technology DOA?"Overall survey results indicated that Wi-Fi is a desirable buddy technology to cellular," In-Stat analyst Gemma Tedesco says. "The majority of respondents were interested in having a Wi-Fi communication device together with their cellular phones, albeit only if the Wi-Fi phone or communicator device is cheap."
Looks like that's not happening any time soon. Have you seen prices for Wi-Fi-only phones? They are "way out of line with what most consumers are willing to pay," according to In-Stat. Vonage's phone is $90, Skype's range from $119 and up. Those prices are after rebates. List prices are often $169 and higher.
On top of that, people are generally satisfied with their cellular phones. They don't see the need to add another wireless calling technology to their homes or businesses.
Converged devices, cell phones that have Wi-Fi calling features, generated more interest among survey respondents. But products that have these capabilities are few and far between. True fixed-mobile convergence also requires that wireless carriers support the technology. Though several trials are under way in the United States, most U.S. carriers have yet to really get behind the technology.
Do Wi-Fi phones have a future? And if so, what role will they really play? Right now those questions remain unanswered.