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Smart phones to render PCs obsolete?

Posted: 16 Jul 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart phones? mobile phones? PCs? handsets? 4G?

As vendors race for revenues on wireless networks, expect to see smart phones that try to replace PCs, handsets hosting separate consumer and business clients and lots more video. Those were some of the ideas from execs at the Mobilebeat 2010 Conference held in San Francisco.

Consolidation in mobile platforms and applications is a nagging issue, but increasingly the main focus is how to get to the money, according to presenters."We spent $9 billion on 700MHz spectrum to take coverage to the next level for 4G, and now we are spending billions of top of that to build the networks out," said Humphrey Chen, director of new technology development at Verizon Wireless

Verizon has trial Long Term Evolution networks in Boston and Seattle now delivering 10Mbit/s down to users and as much as 5Mbit/s up to the net. One idea it is mulling to drive use of that network is a docking station with keyboard, camera and monitor that turns a smart phone into a full PC.

"With gigahertz processors, the divide between the smart phone and PC has narrowed," said Chen. "That's Microsoft's worst nightmare because there is no Windows or Office revenue, but there's a big Google Apps and Verizon cloud computing opportunity there," he added.

Chen also floated the idea creating separate consumer and business clients on a single handset, suggesting carriers could bill two parties for services on the device. "We are exploring virtualization technology to make that happen," Chen said in a keynote talk.

Verizon is expected to launch a mobile developer conference soon. It has already created a 4G venture forum including Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and four venture capital firms to drive new ideas for cellular nets.

Many of the new ideas from Verizon and others involve packing more video on wireless nets. Chen said customer support services need tools to be able to ingest video feeds from customers.

Sprint, which recently launched its first WiMAX handset, sees the potential for real-time high def video streaming to social networking sites using its net. It also expects use from businesses using handsets to connect security cameras and other monitors. "We think there are tons of business apps, and we continue to seek embedded Wi-Fi devices to connect [our net] to," said Todd Rowley, vice president of 4G at Sprint.

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