Coffee shop toys: The future of wireless Web apps

Web services push forward from the enterprise to your home workshop

"Does it make sense to, say, trade stocks on your Sansa Connect?" Mowrey asked. "We could do it, but where do you draw the line?"

As a result, users inevitably will have to choose between devices that do a few things well, such as a device focused on connecting to a music service, or devices that do many things, but not as well, Mowrey said.

"There are always trade-offs," Mowrey said. "For instance, phones typically don't have enough storage capacity to be great MP3 players, and [phone] batteries are challenging. If users use their phone to watch a video for five hours on a plane, when they get off the plane, the battery is dead."

The final challenge relates to how service providers price mobile access. Specifically, 3G access covers large areas, but the way cellular operators charge for it -- typically a flat rate of US$60 a month -- discourages its use in small, narrowly focused devices, Kerton said.

"Some devices don't use much bandwidth, and some are bandwidth-hungry like a video camera," Kerton said. "We need cellular carriers to start offering different rate and service packages. "Instead of AT&T charging $60 a month, they could flip it around and go to a company like [Global Positioning System vendor] Garmin, and that company could resell the minutes to their customers. As a consumer, let me pay a buck or two a month for some devices, and then I'll pay AT&T US$40 a month to connect my laptop."

Kerton said the cellular carriers have so far expressed little willingness to operate that way. But he was confident that such issues will be worked out over time.

"We're still in the early stages," Kerton said. "The Sansa Connect works well, and the iPod Touch works well, but we'll see a lot of devices that don't work so well. And we need carriers to offer different rates and service packages. But we'll hiccup through the process, and in five years, we'll be walking around in a cloud, and there will be bits and bytes available anytime you want."

David Haskin is a contributing editor specializing in mobile and wireless issues.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David Haskin

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?