Dial Both Wi-Fi, Cellular On Newest Mobile Phones

This Wall Street Journal article (unfortunately, paid subscription only – if we find a free link, we’ll post it as an update) talks about how a bunch of WiFi enabled mobile phones are on their way. These phones will work over WiFi networks when in range of such a system, and then switch to cellular networks when there’s no WiFi around. The initial phones are expected to be a bit bigger and more expensive than your average mobile phone, but they certainly do offer some interesting possibilities – mostly in giving more options to data devices. Currently most handhelds either work on WiFi or on a cellular network – which provides certain limitations. Some carriers even see this combined solution as a way to hook people on the idea of high speed internet access via mobile device – so they’ll be hooked (and willing to spend) when the carriers eventually get around to offering a real 3G high speed data service. Of course, plenty of questions remain – and the biggest may be whether or not consumers care (or care enough to shell out the extra money). The problem companies face when they start trying to please everyone is that they may end up pleasing no one instead. A combined device can often amplify the limitations or problems with each, and thus make the combined solution much worse than a specialized one. Still, if it’s done right, there could be a stampede from the “must always be connected” crowd.

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