from the there's-always-something dept
This portends a future (that Sprint has been talking up a lot lately with WiMAX) where myriad consumer electronics devices like cameras, GPS devices, sensors, signs, etc. all connect to the "cloud" and have service either bundled in retail prices, or into some other service fee like Amazon is charging for content. This kind of device is a break from the normally carrier-controlled handsets we usually see, and is interesting for that reason alone. It's also a break from the $80 rule, where non-phones can only connect to cellular data for $80/mo. Since the Kindle device has limited Internet functionality, Amazon can predict average monthly EV-DO throughput per device, and negotiate a much better wholesale data rate from Sprint than $80, and can then afford to bundle that into content pricing. Don't get me wrong -- I don't agree with the content pricing on the Kindle. But the launch of an "Open Access" consumer electronics device with wide area network access bundled in has got me excited. Imagine now a GPS device from Garmin or TomTom that comes with a cellular radio for traffic updates, local fuel prices, etc, and the data plan is bundled into the retail price. Wow! Consumer electronics devices that could work right out of the box with full mobile connectivity, and a carrier that is willing to wholesale reasonably for that network connection! The times are finally changing.