Is a $50 portable Internet radio less than a year away?
Intel Corp. moved one step closer to developing its own mobile WiMAX solution on Wednesday when the company announcing it had completed the design of its first WiMAX baseband chipset for use in laptops and other mobile devices. According to Dave Hofer, director of wireless marketing for the mobile platforms group at Intel, “our aim with WiMAX is to provide personal anytime/anywhere broadband connectivity,” said Hofer. “This is a step along the way. We’re at a point where, in 2007 and 2008, you’re going to start seeing product samples.” Sprint Nextel has announced plans to build the first nationwide mobile WiMAX network by the end of 2008. Intel, who is helping to build Sprint’s WiMAX infrastructure, says that its testing and validating timeline will correspond with the cellular industry’s network rollout.
It is inevitable that the Internet – and anything you can hear on it – will be both wireless pretty much wherever you need it and at high speeds within the next five years.
And demand for all Internet services – not simply audio – will drive product development, marketing, and sales. In other words, the platform will not have to be sold. It will just have to be bought.
And that’s a key distinction differentiating these services from satellite and HD radio – both of which need both selling and buying. And right now there’s a whole lot of the former going on and not enough of the latter. By necessity, satellite is already branching into video and WiFi solutions while HD radio is still trying to emerge from its shell.
This is not a good time to emerge from a shell without peeking into the big wide world first to see what awaits you.