Dual-Mode Phone Age Has Arrived

Carl Weinschenk

This xchange story is a bit difficult to follow, since the subject matter -- the partnerships springing up to support handsets capable of fixed/mobile convergence operations -- is dense stuff.


Fg microtec makes handset software called the Voice Call Continuity client. It works with the VCC server from NewStep to allow calls to remain active while being shuttled between Wi-Fi and cellular networks. One piece of news is that the Fg and NewStep are running two tests -- one employs the IP Multimedia Subsystem and one doesn't -- with Nokia E-series handsets. Separately, Paragon Wireless and NewStep have completed interoperability testing for Paragon's new GSM voice-over-wireless local area network dual-mode hipi 2300 phone.


The bottom line is that dual-mode phones are starting to appear. This DailyWireless story is, thankfully, more general. It identifies five key decisions that must be made when choosing a dual-mode phone. This area still is new, and the decisions shoppers make will have a great impact on the fundamental level of service received and ways they can use their phones.


The product-specific news comes as In-Stat released the study "Worldwide Demand for Wi-Fi/Cellular Combo Phones." The firm points to the growing awareness and desire for dual-mode phones. Almost half of respondents who plan to replace their phones want Wi-Fi, and there will be more than 100 such models on the market by the end of the year, In-Stat says. Be prepared for a quick ramp-up: More than 50 million dual-mode devices supporting the Session Initiation Protocol will be in the field by 2011. The company concludes that many of the challenges to converged devices -- such as their tendency to drain batteries quickly -- will be conquered this year.


The popularity of such devices already is proven, at least in France. According to TeleGeography, Orange France has sold more than 250,000 Unik GSM/Wi-Fi devices since they began offering them last November. The TeleGeography note has little context, such as how widely available the handsets are and how many cellular-only devices were sold in areas in which both are available. In any scenario, however, it's pretty clear that 250,000 handsets is a lot.


A good example of how close mass deployments are to happening in the states can be inferred from this Computerworld story, which says Marriott International is "surveying vendors" of dual-mode devices to be given to guests and workers at the Grande Lakes Orlando (Fla.) resort. The IT department must lobby Morgan Stanley, which owns the resort and has hired Grande Lakes to run two other lodges it owns nearby, the Ritz-Carlton and the JW Marriott.


People want dual-mode phones, and there is no technical hurdle that will stop them from getting their wishes.

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