Power in the Palm of Your Hand!Tuesday, September 04, 2007
In my latest Commentary, I talked about the new Nokia mobile computers and the devices that will be built around the Qualcomm Snap Dragon 1-GHz processor architecture. The bottom line is that we are about to have more power in the palm of our hand than ever before―more than most of us had when we bought our first PC.
What are we going to do with all this power? Many of us will watch mobile TV channels and download the latest audio tracks while some will play interactive 3D games, but what else will we be able to do? Business customers will find that these new devices provide better and faster access to their enterprise and business applications and offer better graphics than ever before. And the WiMAX industry believes many of us will embrace the Internet via wireless, although, as many of you already know, I don’t think the desktop Internet turned wireless is what is going to drive the adoption of wireless services other than voice.
These new devices and the power they bring will certainly make the developer community happy, and I am sure developers will take full advantage of every MIP produced by these new chips. In the days when I was consulting and writing about PCs and notebook computers, every time Intel raised the bar and increased the speed of its processors, the cache and onboard memory and made other changes, it also spent a lot of time with developers showing them how to take advantage of these new speeds and capabilities. Intel needed the developers to build new applications, games or whatever to take full advantage of these new chips in order to entice all of us to visit our favorite computer store or Website and buy another new computer that was faster, had more capabilities and was less expensive than the one we bought only a year ago.
Now we are in the same series of cycles with our mobile devices. It seems to me that the pace of innovation in the wireless world is faster than it was in the PC world, but perhaps that is simply because I am getting older and the time between chip releases seems to be getting shorter. Certainly, the time between the commercialization of a new chip and finished wireless devices is shrinking.
But it is not only the chips that are empowering wireless with more capabilities. Increased data speeds, increased capacity, better user interfaces and better ease-of-use are all having their effect. I think we are still missing a number of things from the formula, but from what I have seen, we are rapidly approaching the introduction of the wireless device we really want.
We have mobile TV already available via Sprint, Verizon Wireless and AT&T in the United States and one-way mobile TV provided by Qualcomm’s MediaFlo to Verizon Wireless and soon AT&T. Frame rates, resolution and real-time programming capabilities are improving and there is more coming in this area. Soon we will be able to buy a DVD-quality full-length movie on a miniature laser disc (about 1.5-inch), insert it into a drive on our wireless device and watch it. We will also be able to attach our wireless device to our HD TV at home and watch the movie on that screen as well.
We will have true real-time traffic on our phones that works in concert with our turn-by-turn navigation service to give us almost instantaneous traffic reports not only for major highways but for all the roads we travel daily. There will be one-way mobile TV networks broadcasting more than mobile TV, sending out data streams of information, stock market results, corporate sales pricing updates and things we haven’t even thought of yet.
Having high-speed broadband, wide-area data services available to us in addition to voice and messaging services is certainly changing the way we view our wireless devices. And this is only the beginning!