Re: Future shock and cellphones

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Wed Aug 07 2002 - 03:46:54 MDT

Reason wrote:

> --> Samantha Atkins
>>Reason wrote:
>>>You guys should chat to SmartTrust ( if you
>>want to go
>>>anywhere in mobile. Five years from now, most people will still be using
>>>phase2+ devices. SmartTrust's system allows pretty much WAP on non-WAP
>>>phones using SMS as a data carrier. They're installed in some
>>ungodly number
>>>of carriers worldwide, expanding rapidly, and are actively looking to
>>>populate their partner program.
>>WAP was DOA. If, five years from now, we actually have a
>>separate device for telephone stuff and have limited over-priced
>>mobile connectivity to the Internet, I will seriously wonder
>>whether this species has mind and will enough to come anywhere
>>close to Singularity. ! :-)
> I'm willing to wager a bunch of time and money (and I am wagering a bunch of
> time and money) that in five years time most handheld devices in the world
> will be phase 2+ GSM cellphones, just like they are today. I doubt this will
> be true in the US or Europe at that time, but definately in Asia, South
> America, Africa and probably large portions of Russia.

Well, I don't have a bunch of time and/or money to call your
wager right now. But, I would be very surprised if the future 5
years out doesn't include a lot more single and wearable devices
that are functionally small computers with full wireless
Internet access. Cellphone stuff will be subsumed into them.
On volume across the world you may well be right. But I expect
the geeks and white-collar crowd will have moved on by then.

> The argument goes something like this: most subscribers in these markets can
> afford/will buy a $20-50 device charging base GSM rates for text messages.
> 95%+ of subscribers in these markets can't afford/won't buy $100 or more
> device at GPRS or greater costs. Network operators are not willing to

So. Why not provide for the low and high-end customers? Why
only do one?

> subsidise handset costs or airtime costs or roll out more advanced networks
> in these regions in any more than a very limited way -- and the underlying
> financial crunch the operators face isn't going away in the next couple of
> years. Network operators also can't afford to wire these regions
> efficiently. They've got the GSM coverage out there, but they can barely
> justify putting GPRS or other next generation networks in major cities, let
> alone putting it out there for the other 50% of the population in the
> countryside.

I believe we need an Internet Superhighway project in the US to
finish the last mile stuff, probably with high-speed wireless on
an advanced cell platform. I think other developed countries
will come to the same conclusion. So I suspect a large part of
setting up such a beast will be paid with tax-dollars.
Otherwise, I think the business as usual model will hold back
the kind of progress I would like to see for far too long.

> It's a very interesting time in wireless right now. The industry is trying
> out a bunch of diverse things in minor rollouts to see what sticks. But
> realistically, you're not going to see high speed wireless networks offered
> by commercial network operators outside major cities anytime soon. And those
> networks are going to suck in terms of bandwidth. All the major operators
> have their GPRS networks up and live in a number of cities across the US at
> the moment; you won't be able to buy for a little while yet in most markets,
> but the phones are horridly costly, the bandwidth is horridly costly, the
> content is nonexistant, no-one has a clue on business models, and you'll be
> lucky to get 56k dialup equivelant speed.
> Not going much better in Europe, either. So get used to those cellphones...

No. There has to be a better way.

- samantha

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