Thursday, September 29, 2005

The search for the ideal IP device continues...

As Paul Jardine wrote back in August on his search for an ideal IP device, he may be nearer to finding that foot for his glass slipper than he knows.

In a recent article on TeleGeography Nokia steps up to creating handsets that are WiFi and GSM/WCDMA enabled that will seamlessly hop between services. The implication is that to support the growing market of VoIP users in Finland, Finns are never far behind when it comes to technology, the new handsets scoped for next year will use WLAN as a preference and switch to GSM when no hotspot is available.

The question is can it carry the call with it? We'll have to wait and find out. It would be good if it could but that might be the next generation on. I still maintain, as posted earlier, that most mobile users aren't really that mobile. It is convenience rather than mobility that drives us to use mobile phones. We commute and we stay put and then go home. So why not use WiFi for VoIP calls when you are at work?

Now the trick would be to be on GSM for the commute, step into a hotspot and switch the call in it's entirety to WLAN service. A nice dream? We'll see.

What I find interesting is that this might kick start Nokia again. They seem to have been drifting for a few years with little direction in terms of technology and styling. In might be a case of been there; done that. I do think that if two cameras on one phone is the best idea they can come up with then the WLAN challenge is good for them.

It is good to see that they still hold true to the simple tastes as well. This article about simplicity is the key to the emerging markets, now that Europe is saturated (Iceland now has more mobiles than residents) this is where the high revenue is from. High tech phones have big prices but there is only so much someone is willing to pay for a handset. I suspect that the early 3G phones and WiFi enabled options will give much lower returns on R&D than the days of the good old banana phone.

Just recently Nokia sold their One Billionth phone. A simple 1100 to a customer in Nigeria. That's about as simple as it gets these days.

Interesting times ahead, where the lines between 802.11 and TDMA/CDMA will get very blurred indeed.

What is most interesting is the message it sends to the usual suspects of Vodafone et al. A manufacturer such as Nokia is clearly stating that the days of locking us into your network are gone, more so the days of locking us into GSM are over.

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