This could be 3G’s biggest nightmare. Claiming to have a truly foolproof technology to switch cellphone users to and from WiFi, Calypso Wireless has done a $500 million deal with a Chinese phone network, due to roll out over the next three years. It is also “in negotiations with one of the largest cable companies in the US” to use this technology. And field trials in four (or more) European countries are due to start in January.
The news of a Chinese development struck some observers as unlikely, at first. “There’s no WiFi at all in China,” said one source in that country. “So it’s not much use launching a WiFi phone.”
Experts remain sceptical. “I’ll be convinced by the idea of ‘completely seamless’ switchover from cellular networks to WiFi when I see it working,” commented consultant Dean Bubley of Disruptive Technology.
“They’re also going to have trouble building a phone with useful battery life in the short term, because until the Broadcom WiFi chipset ships in volume, most 802.11 standard wireless is not set up to economise on power consumption,” he added. He wasn’t alone, with other experts proclaiming that existing WiFi chips would burn up too much battery power, until the new Broadcom chipset ships next year. Continue >>