Sunday, August 30, 2009

Be bad, have WiFi in your smartphone

Here's a thought: do you need WiFi in your smartphone nowadays?

Like tangled tentacles, it's like a plant is trying to get in touch with other plants, finding a way or another to get connected. And so are we, back in the old day when the first phone invented, we found ourselves communicating with land-wired phone even up until today. Then came advanced telecommunication with wireless technology, like the one you're currently enjoying so much in your palm: mobile phone.

Technology keep on advancing, soon enough data is also transfered wirelessly. Not satisfied enough with the ability to communicate anywhere and whenever we want, mobile users are demanding to have for more and more data transported to their smartphone. Unable to coop with data demand from subscribers, wireless carriers turn their head in slow adaptation for faster data network (EDGE to 3G / HSDPA) and offering high priced data packages. Thus resulting users to look for alternative; WiFi.

According to global consulting and advisory firm Ovum in a recent data research, consumers nowadays are demanding WiFi to be a standard part of technology in their smartphones. From 77 smartphone models identified, there are 59 handsets had GPS (Global Positioning System) capability and 49 had WiFi. Tim Renowden, an analyst at Ovum said WiFi and GPS are now key features across nearly all smartphones, not just high-end models.

"Some operators still have a reluctance to admit WiFi-equipped handsets onto their networks, but Ovum believes consumers now expect WiFi to be present in smartphones," Renowden said.

There's a very good reason for wireless carriers to hate WiFi present in today's smartphones, besides the worry of network stress from massive data transfer; it's VoIP. Because using VoIP in their smartphone, mobile users are able to replace the need of subscribing monthly to make and receive calls on their phones. It's definetely cheaper, though not at all practical, especially when one is out of WiFi network reach. But still, it worry much enough for wireless carriers to ask mobile manufaturers not to put WiFi into their handsets.

I don't have to give you a too far away picture, a fine example can be seen in Palm's old smartphones: the Trēo™ 680 and 750. When these two smartphones were out in the market, WiFi already became a new trend, but unfortunately Palm's policy on not to include the technology in those Trēos is still baffled me.

Another good example of how the combination of WiFi and VoIP scares the hell out of wireless carriers is shown by the currently under investigation Google Voice app blockage in iPhone, when FCC is poking both Apple and AT&T for answers on the real reason behind the disappearance of the app, indirectly both companies admitted that they have a deal to block VoIP on iPhone.

Apple says the Google Voice app is merely still under evaluation to be given entrance into iPhone or not, Apple's reasons are because the app is duplicating iPhone functionality and thus altering the user experience. While AT&T says the wireless company didn't know nothing about it, and in a press statement said: "any AT&T customer may access and use Google Voice on any web-enabled device operating on AT&T's network, including the iPhone, by launching the application through their web browser, without the need to use the Apple App Store."

So when a giant wireless carrier like AT&T enforces an undisclosed agreement on not to use VoIP on its network, and a big mobile manufacturer like Apple is compelled to play along, then that's when consumers' rights is violated. Basically, the WiFi technology has been slowed down because of practices like that. The inability to use their rights of those who are powerless and defend it against those who have power, we should shudder at the thought...

Like it or not, WiFi is the current and future technology (as we're nearing the ratification of 802.11n Draft 2.0) for smartphone. So if you're about to buy a smartphone without WiFi in it, why don't you ask yourself the question I asked you on the top of this post.
Be bad, have WiFi in your smartphone and rebel for a cause with VoIP. ;-D

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