Friday, August 04, 2006

Cynicism And Wireless Go Hand In Hand

Dean Bubley just explained the politics and business reality of phone over WiFi (UMA and others) ratehr better than I could, saying everything I could have said on the UI / settings / you-can't-play-with-my-toys operator mentality and a lot more besides.

It's easy to be cynical in the wireless world, both conventional mobile and the WiFi bubble, because everything really is twenty times as complicated as it should be and good ideas are rarely implemented well. But it doesn't change the fact that he's right; I feel like I should add something more but WiFi's not really my main area, and as Dean explains it probably won't be for quite a few years...


Blogger Thelf said...

I'm not sure whether commenting on your own blog is post modern or just a bit wanky. However to save another post on the same subject here I go....

Dean is pretty much on the money here, though WiFi in handsets is all about size, battery life and user experience. The first two effectively stalled Three's initial uptake in the UK (remember the giant phones with backpack batteries, which lasted like half a day?) forcing them to differentiate on price. WiFi is currently just the same, and despite what Dean says, battery management is a complete pain as WiFi is either on or off, with no ability to power manage like the cellular standards.

The user exeprience on current multi-mode handsets is also dreadful and practically the only people I know who've got this stuff working properly are telco industry boffins (and none of them claimed it was easy). WiFi also lacks the benefits of licensed spectrum or decent QOS, which means its neatly set up to become the true successor to DECT, complete with the sprint towards your phone base/charger to get a good signal when the phone rings - though this has had the fringe benefit of keeping my mother fit for the best part of a decade.

At the end of the day the general phone buying public asks four questions when picking up a handset:

1. How big is it
2. How often do I have to recharge the phone
3. Does it work
4. Is it cool
5. What does it cost

By my reckoning today's multimode handsets fail on pretty much all of these counts....

3:10 pm

Blogger raddedas said...

i'll join in the post-modern wank fest then with two comments:

1) you can't count
2) people don't ask 'does it work' else they wouldn't have bought so many T610s


3:18 pm


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