The Move Toward 802.11n-Equipped Smartphones Set to Accelerate

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The inclusion of Wi-Fi on cellular devices is central to the drive to convergence in the big picture. And, on day-to-day basis, it's a simple way for mobile widget owners to access a tremendous amount of functionality.


Virtually all the 802.11 available on devices today are older versions of the standard. ABI Research just released research that predicts that the latest version of the Wi-Fi standard, 802.11n, while available in less than 1 percent of smartphones now, will soar to to 87 percent or more in 2014.


The study included a key caveat: Initially, handsets equipped with 802.11n won't enjoy many of the advanced features of the standard, including multiple in/multiple out (MIMO) antennas. This is due to powering challenges and, in the case of MIMO antennas, probably space limitations. The press release doesn't say precisely how big the difference in speed between will be between 802.11n smartphones when they first become available and in the longer term. The release says the more robust version of smartphone 802.11n will hit the market in 2014.


Folks whose job and hobby is figuring out where technology is going spend quality time perusing technology job sites, and not necessarily to find work. The thinking is that vendors have to hire folks to actually develop the improvements planners want. In this case, Electronista reports about Apple postings that imply the inclusion of 802.11n in its products. The commentary speculates on when the faster speeds will arrive and the relative status of 802.11n on the iPod touch and the iPhone. The writer describes other signs that the faster Wi-Fi standard is on its way to the Apple devices.


The industry also did some sleuthing about the Nexus One. TFTS reports that Google's initial spec sheet included 802.11n along with 802.11b and g. The spec sheet was wrong, however. Both the original spec sheet from HTC, which is building the device, and an updated document from Google omit 802.11n. It certainly seems likely that the device will offer the functionality in the near future, however.

Announcements concerning 802.11n and smartphones are starting. For instance, in early November, Engadget reported that Atheros' AR6003 chip would use a non-MIMO version of 802.11n to provide as much as 85 megabits per second of throughput. Another example is the Inbrics MID M1 slider smartphone, which was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It will be available in the United States toward the end of 2010 or early next year.