Kindle to ignite trend for more consumer wireless devices
E-reader could be followed by watches with weather access and more
Computerworld - Even if you never use Amazon.com Inc.'s new Kindle e-reader to download books wirelessly, the device is the forerunner of a number of limited-purpose wireless devices that are expected to hit the market in the next few years.
Under this new scenario, wireless carriers would provide wireless data connectivity for free or low cost for everything from wristwatches that download the weather forecast to digital cameras that can send images wirelessly, industry analysts said today.
"Even though $399 is pretty expensive for Kindle, it seems like a forerunner to wireless devices we'll see that aren't a cell phone," said Tole Hart, an analyst at Gartner Inc.
The Kindle, announced yesterday, allows a user to wirelessly download a book for $9.99, but Amazon does not charge for the wireless connection, which is over Sprint Nextel Corp.'s EV-DO network. Amazon is still paying some wholesale cost for EV-DO connectivity to Sprint, and recouping that cost through the sale of books and newspapers, Hart and other analysts explained.
Amazon, in the case of Kindle, is acting as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) and reselling Sprint's wireless data capability for a specific purpose. Not all MVNO concepts have worked, including one proposed several years ago by the Walt Disney Co., which means there is a certain degree of risk for Sprint.
"The fact that Sprint was willing to negotiate with Amazon shows that Sprint is struggling" and willing to take a risk in hopes of disrupting the normal business model for operators, said Derek Kerton, an analyst at The Kerton Group in San Jose.
Sprint is also backing its Xohm concept to bring wireless broadband via WiMax nationwide next year. The carrier has focused on providing WiMax in all sorts of devices sold by other vendors, instead of the usual carrier practice of selling its own phones and wireless devices for use in its network. In that sense, Xohm is heading in the same direction as EV-DO for Kindle and Amazon, the analysts said.
"The general theme that Sprint talks about with WiMax is to enable all kinds of devices wirelessly, and Qualcomm is thinking this way as well," Hart said.
Philip Marshall, an analyst at Yankee Group Research Inc. in Boston, and Kerton said that Sprint's work with Amazon might be followed by similar moves by T-Mobile USA, as well as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless.
"Kindle sounds like an interesting concept," said Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Nancy Stark. "At Verizon Wireless, we're working on delivering new applications all the time, so stay tuned." The other carriers could not be reached for comment.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Gartner 2013 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup/Recovery Software See why CommVault was positioned as the #1 leader in Gartner's 2013 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup/Recovery software for the 3rd year in...
- Forrester Report: CommVault is a Leader in Enterprise Backup and Recovery In this report, Forrester takes a deep dive into the evaluation criteria, how CommVault is positioned and the features and functionality that make...
- Forrester Wave for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Read this report to see how CommVault continues to outpace its competitors and why Forrester positioned CommVault Simpana as the top backup and...
- Architecting the Network of the Future Networks need to change, as does the way IT thinks about and manages them. In addition to reliability, IT must now add higher...
- Four Myths of High-Productivity App Dev Debunked Debunk the main myths surrounding high-productivity application development and how both platforms have overcome them.
On-Demand Webcast: 7 Reasons to Choose VoIP
Thinking about a new phone system for your business?
Be sure to watch this informative webcast. Steve Strauss, small business columnist for USA...
All Smartphones White Papers |