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  1.    #1  
    Here's the story:

    http://www.mobilemag.com/content/100/104/C1847/

    Today, Sprint announced plans to offer PCS Wi-Fi Access, a high-speed wireless data service that will enable customers to replicate their desktop environment in key locations across the country. Through a combination of Wi-Fi ZONES built and managed by Sprint and roaming agreements, Sprint plans to provide customers with high-speed Wi-Fi access where they need it most – in public locations such as airports, convention centers and hotels – at speeds 50 times faster than standard dialup. The service is expected to be available later this summer in over 800 locations, with over 2,100 locations planned by the end of the year.
    <snip>
    Initially, customers will be able to subscribe to PCS Wi-Fi Access using their credit cards. In late 2003, Sprint expects to integrate usage charges into the customers’ monthly PCS Service Plan statement. Pricing will be announced once the service becomes available later this summer.
    This more than ever makes a Treo 600 + SD wifi combo seem more appealing IMO. Any thoughts?
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  2. #2  
    Well - sounds great with two caveats:

    1. How good is the browser going to be? From what was posted earlier about the latest, greatest Blazer, it might be pretty good.

    2. How badly is Sprint going to screw users for service? I'm not really thrilled about the $15 PPC/Palm data plan (a.k.a. - give us more of your money).
  3. #3  
    For the past 8 months, I've seen all the hubbub over wi-fi, hot spots, wayport, Cometa, Starbucks, T-Mobile, McDonalds - la de freakin' da, and I think to myself: With a Treo and Sprint's all I can eat data, why do I/should I care about wi-fi? Yes, wi-fi is faster, but Sprint's data is pretty much everywhere I am. I don't hang out in Starbucks; I'm not near any hot spots that I know of - I am where I am, and the CDMA network is always there for me.
    So - do I need to run and get a wi-fi enabled SD card when I get the new Treo? I really don't think so.
    An article in the latest Business 2.0 compares the numbers btw cellular and wi-fi - of course, cell usage DWARFS wi-fi. But then, another report I saw today said that wi-fi usage is going to overtake fixed-line boardband by 2008, so you never know.

    I think the question facing Palm/Handspring is - should they embed wi-fi into the core OS, to go along with cell radios such as CDMA and GSM (not to mention BlueTooth as a connectivity feature).
    So many choices. Bottom line for me - I don't <think> I care about wi-fi. For now.
  4. #4  
    I think thats massive overkill.

    don't get me wrong - i love being able to check email on the fly as well as surf the web on an "emergency basis". But thats really what the Treo is meant for - its not meant to be used as a primary surfing device. Bottomline - 3G is plenty bandwidth for the current capabillities of the treo line.
    www.bubblespeed.com
  5. Iceman6's Avatar
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    #5  
    1. Public WiFi for laptops or wireless PDA's might be useful. It all depends on the cost to the person with the laptop. For example, if you're in an airport with a 2-hour wait, why not go on-line? For another example, if your flight just got cancelled, would you rather search for another flight using a treo with a 160 x 160 pixel screen, or a laptop with a 1400 x 1050 pixel screen? This looks like a gimmick to me. They're gonna charge by the minute, and I ain't gonna pay it.

    2. Public WiFi for phones might be useful, if it's used for VOIP (internet phone service) and it's cheaper than cellular. Now why would Sprint spend the money to develop public WiFi hot spots and then charge less for phone use if you're in one of the hot spots? This also sounds to me like digital roaming, i.e., pay EXTRA by the minute whenever you walk into one of the WiFi hot spots. This doesn't make any sense to me either.
  6. #6  
    Felipe
    On the road to 5,000 posts
    Life is what happens between Firmware releases.
  7. #7  
    David Berlind captured my thoughts exactly.
    I don't want to lug around my laptop, and having what I think of, with the Treo and Sprint's data plan, as 'DSL-in-my-pocket', fits my needs perfectly.l
  8. #8  
    I totally agree with nrosser. why pay when it's free.
  9. #9  
    Aren't starbucks only providing high speed data for T-mobile? I mean I get my Sprint signal there but just as I would any other place in the city.
  10. purpleX
    purpleX's Avatar
    #10  
    1. WiFi has far higher bandwidth at cheaper cost than 2.5G , 3G or whatever G. Cheap data is good, freebie data is even better.

    2. WiFi proliferates like crazy, 3 months from now, any gadget that has no WiFi capability might as well be called "somewhat" disconnected handheld.

    3. Where is the killer apps? Well They are definitely not datebk or bejeweled. The sort of killer app for WiFi are exactly type of apps that are being rediculed by POS big wigs. Voip, Multimedia streaming, ftp server, presentation over the air, net browsers and tools, IM, various specialized browser such as eBay tracker or stock tracker, games..... etc. video conferencing...

    now you will ask, why would anybody want to use Voip with WiFi when you got regular phone.... cost my dear, making freebie call is still a fun and cheaper albeit a novelty than a 25c/min call.

    Basically, things just got started and nobody knows what's good and what's gimmick. But as usuall, everybody chants 'who needs it" untill a well implemented killer apps emerge in other platfrom, and POS scrambles to catch up after being dismissive. Multimedia running on color screen powered by ARM processor anybody?

    yeah who needs it when oen has Vx.
  11. Iceman6's Avatar
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    #11  
    You think Sprint will be offering FREE Wi-Fi hot spots? T-Mobile charges $6/day in their Starbucks and Borders hot spots.
  12. #12  
    I see very limited sucess in this whole WiFi market that T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint PCS believe to exist - and this is b/c of a number of reasons.

    1- Its not like cellular / PCS service.

    all cell / PCS providers subsidize the cost of the phone to convince consumers to purchase service thru them. Wi-Fi is a totally different beast - its not like Cingular is gonna pay for 1/2 the cost of a laptop so I can use their WiFi service.


    2- Public Pay-For-Use Internet business models have never worked.

    even during the pre-bubble-burst, net cafes floundered in places like SF and silicon valley. No company in the United States has ever turned a profit on selling on-demand net service, let alone attempt to roll out a nationwide service. If you're gonna use Boingo as an example - lets give that a few more years to see if their model pans out (also see my point 4)


    3- Limited demand for WiFi

    lets be real folks - the average Joe has no clue what the hell is WiFi, let alone P4, ghz, 3G, G3, OS X, 802.11b, or 802.11G. Once you realize that the only people that would be interested in WiFi access are the few executives / sales / geeks who are actually TECH SAVY, you've got a very shallow pool of consumers to play with.


    4- Free WiFi will be everywhere eventualy

    this is gonna be par for the course - where WAP access is provided gratis as a means of providing added value to someone's product. Many hotels now offer free WiFi. I own / operate my own cafe, Bubble Tea Cafe in Buffalo, and we offer free 802.11b as an enhancement to the products we already provide.



    Bottomline is, in America, the only people that would pay for high speed net access are the people that already have it at home, work and/or school. The people that don't have access to high speed access are the people that either can't afford computers and could really care less.
    www.bubblespeed.com
  13. purpleX
    purpleX's Avatar
    #13  
    Intel will make sure WiFi is in every computer, staring with Centrino.
  14. #14  
    I have to tell you that here in Washington, DC and the metro area, you wouldn't believe the number of people sitting with laptops in Starbucks and Borders, most using WiFi. The number of cafes offering free WiFi is increasing, but the availability of the two big chains substantial. Then again, DC is never a good example when looking at the rest of the country.

    Geoffrey
  15. #15  
    Originally posted by DJOrient
    I see very limited sucess in this whole WiFi market that T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint PCS believe to exist - and this is b/c of a number of reasons.

    1- Its not like cellular / PCS service.

    all cell / PCS providers subsidize the cost of the phone to convince consumers to purchase service thru them. Wi-Fi is a totally different beast - its not like Cingular is gonna pay for 1/2 the cost of a laptop so I can use their WiFi service.


    2- Public Pay-For-Use Internet business models have never worked.

    even during the pre-bubble-burst, net cafes floundered in places like SF and silicon valley. No company in the United States has ever turned a profit on selling on-demand net service, let alone attempt to roll out a nationwide service. If you're gonna use Boingo as an example - lets give that a few more years to see if their model pans out (also see my point 4)


    3- Limited demand for WiFi

    lets be real folks - the average Joe has no clue what the hell is WiFi, let alone P4, ghz, 3G, G3, OS X, 802.11b, or 802.11G. Once you realize that the only people that would be interested in WiFi access are the few executives / sales / geeks who are actually TECH SAVY, you've got a very shallow pool of consumers to play with.


    4- Free WiFi will be everywhere eventualy

    this is gonna be par for the course - where WAP access is provided gratis as a means of providing added value to someone's product. Many hotels now offer free WiFi. I own / operate my own cafe, Bubble Tea Cafe in Buffalo, and we offer free 802.11b as an enhancement to the products we already provide.



    Bottomline is, in America, the only people that would pay for high speed net access are the people that already have it at home, work and/or school. The people that don't have access to high speed access are the people that either can't afford computers and could really care less.
    I used to live in Buffalo, but it would take more than free Wi-Fi to make me go back ;-)

    You may be correct, but I thought AOL would go out of business because the masses would just use web sites, usenet, ICQ, etc., and dump the controlled access point and content. Who would pay $20 a month for something they can get for a lot less?

    Well, I was very wrong, as AOL was very successful early only due to it's embedded base.

    I would argue that Joe public is getting more tech aware, and that hotspots will continue to be a big deal - I can't tell you how many non-techies (but people with computers, Internet, etc), come up to me when I'm in Starbucks and think it's the freakin' cat's pajamas that I can be online and do my work, etc.

    As wireless become dejour in laptops, this will grow even more.

    The only thing that will kill wi-fi hotspots is if Sprint or other carriers embed their data network chips in laptops. I think this is unlikely (although the PC data card will be an option). So I think wi-fi has a long life ahead.

    Until wirless phone (ex. 3G, etc.) get data speeds up to faster levels, hotspots will be big. Also, it's nice to sit at a table and work inside, rather than out on the curb (mainly b/c screen brightness on laptops isn't that good.) So there's that to consider.

    I think you'll see the McD's become very popular once they offer their service broadly.

    Wi-Fi hotspots is for data access today what cell phone were for voice in the 90's.... 1990, not a lot of people had cell phones...in 2000, everyone had one.
  16. #16  
    A lot of people want to draw comparisons btw wi-fi and cellular, but I think that's a fundamentally flawed comparison. Here's why:

    They are different beasts - cell usage grew (and continues to grow) because you can talk while doing other things. You can walk and talk (most of us), drive and talk (hmmm), sit and talk - all those sorts of things. Voice is truly the killer app there. It's multi-tasking. Whether you SHOULD be multi-tasking is another topic entirely, but presume that cell usage is something you can do while doing other things, and while moving. Cell usage is a very social thing.

    Wi-fi, via a laptop or PDA, presumes a stationary location (thus the concept of hot spots), and a fairly singular activity - I'm surfing or working, or whatever - not very social. And, you have to be committed to that activity right then - it's not like a cell phone call you make or take on the spur of the moment. I'm not debating whether wi-fi will grow or not - it likely will - I'm just saying that cell usage by its very nature is different from wi-fi, and to compare the two of them is misleading. Just look how long it's taken DSL and other broadband services to proliferate, and one can extrapolate that wi-fi won't spread like cell usage has. (yes, I know - cost vs free and all that, but you get the point)
  17. #17  
    There are plans that are written about to use new technology to make wi-fi waves travel much longer distances. And, there are other plans to build up regional seamless wi-fi geographic areas.

    Such moves might, someday, make wi-fi an alternative for some people who only stay in urban areas.

    For the rest of us, we'll go to our graves using cellular.

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