Sunday, January 15, 2006

Dean Bubley: Dual-Mode handsets done right

Dean Bubley posts about dual-mode handsets at his Disruptive Wireless blog. Bubley states that one of his core beliefs is that

consumers will use WiFi-enabled mobile phones in a very different fashion to ordinary cellular-only handsets. They will want the WiFi function to do a lot more than simply extend cellular coverage, and offer transparent "access agnostic" links to existing mobile services.

In particular, I think consumers will want to do a lot more than access "services" with a dual-mode device. They'll start treating the phone as a piece of home consumer electronics, rather than purely a "service-led" device. They'll want to get MP3 files from their PC's hard drive over WiFi, maybe share contacts, and possibly hook into all the other new bits of WiFi-enabled gadgetry around the home. They'll want to use the phone to browse the web via their broadband connection from the sofa (with no per-MB charges), and use the integrated WiFi to access email, IM, VoIP (yeah, maybe Skype) and all that other good "proper Internet" stuff.
Bubley then goes on to write about UMA handsets and SIP alternatives. He notes French broadband operator NeufCegetel "is working on a trial dual-mode solution that uses SIP and a proper PC/Internet-integrated smartphone. He opines:
maybe, just this once, they should have diverted a few pennies from their clearly very innovative R&D team, and spent a bit more on their marketing & branding efforts.... I mean, I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the Qtek 8300 that NeufCegetel is using isn't really an UglyPhone, but still, would you want to say you had a "BeautifulPhone"?