Wi-Fi popular now in smartphones, set to boom
Users of phones with Wi-Fi say they like their device twice as much as those without it
Computerworld - LAS VEGAS -- Wi-Fi, already heavily used in mobile devices such as the iPhone according to new research, is coming to a smartphone or cell phone near you.
"Wi-Fi is like chocolate," Edgar Figueroa, executive director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, told Computerworld before the start of International CTIA Wireless here. "Three-fourths of the people who have Wi-Fi on their phone use it, and half of the iPhone traffic is going through Wi-Fi, according to ABI."
ABI Research, which conducted the study, said that all the major smartphone makers were planning to include Wi-Fi in their phones, with many carriers supporting the standard because it was able to handle large files for movies and songs.
While 44% of smartphones currently have Wi-Fi, that number will increase to 90% by 2014, ABI said. Separately, ABI predicted that the number of Wi-Fi-enabled traditional mobile phones shipped would reach 141 million in 2009, and soar to 520 million by 2014.
"The surprising thing in the survey is that Wi-Fi ends up being a growth driver for the smartphone," Figueroa said, noting that users of phones with Wi-Fi say they like their phone twice as much as those who have phones without Wi-Fi.
Figueroa said carriers tend to agree that Wi-Fi is complementary to other networks, including 3G and 4G cellular. In all, about 600 million devices that incorporate Wi-Fi have shipped globally, he said.
He said the Wi-Fi Alliance has talked to 12 major carriers globally that have included Wi-Fi in their plans alongside other networks. AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S. have recognized its value as well, he noted, with AT&T allowing its subscribers to use free Wi-Fi hot spots inside of Starbucks, while T-Mobile has set up its service to help users find Wi-Fi to make free calls.
Launched today, Skype for iPhone allows iPhone owners to use the popular VoIP service, but only over Wi-Fi, protecting AT&T's revenue for calls made over its cellular network.
Because Wi-Fi is not proprietary and is based on IP, it is easy to use, which has aided adoption, Figueroa said. Its theoretical throughput is 500Mbit/sec., although many users are gratified to get over 100Mbit/sec.
Among a number of technology advancements with Wi-Fi is something called "device to device," which would allow a Wi-Fi-enabled device to connect directly to another device without the need for a router in the middle of the network pathway, Figueroa said.
For example, a user could send a picture from a Wi-Fi-ready handset to a TV display or projector with no router, or from a laptop to a local printer. Members of the alliance are targeting the unveiling of that technology next year, perhaps under a different name, he said.
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
- Mobile First: Securing Information Sprawl Learn how the partnership between Box and MobileIron can help you execute a "mobile first" strategy that manages and secures both mobile apps...
- AIIM Trendscape: The New Mobile Reality This AIIM Trendscape report shares data, expert opinions, and a unique perspective on the impact of cloud and mobility in the enterprise, surfacing...
- Empowering Your Mobile Workers A modern mobile IT strategy is no longer an option, it is an absolute necessity. Here's how some of the nation's most progressive...
- Mobile Content, Collaboration & IDC's 3rd IT Platform: The Next Frontier for the Mobile Enterprise IDC focuses this article on talks about the new IT platform. This 3rd IT Platform will be the new wave for about the...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their...
- Why do you need an enterprise mobile platform? Today companies must offer great apps that run on a range of devices, and connect to an exploding set of backend data. Appcelerator... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts