Lots of fanfare this morning about the announcement of GSMA's big "Mobile Broadband" branding exercise, whereby notebook vendors will put a sticker on embedded-3G notebooks, reminiscent of Centrino or WiFi.
Some good stuff in the announcement, notably a $1bn marketing budget which is obviously likely to help drive the uptake of both embedded and external solutions. But also lots of self-serving propaganda as well (as exemplified by the quote from Gemalto, maker of SIM cards).
But the focus on WiFi hotspots in the PR points out just how narrow a niche the initiative is addressing. Personally, I use HSPA a lot as an alternative to hotspots - but that's because I'm the type of user who really needs access in a lot of different places, and I cringe at the stupid prices charged by the likes of Swisscom in hotels and airports. My next laptop might well have an embedded module - as long as the price is right, and it's not locked to a specific MNO's data plan.
But I'm in a minority - as, I expect, are most readers of this blog. The vast majority of notebook buyers - consumer or corporate - won't be buying an embedded-3G notebook any time soon. Many don't need mobility anyway, and others will be happy with dongles and tethered 3G phones.
I'm buried in other stuff today, but I'll get back later in the week to why the curve of 3G "attachment" in notebooks will be much shallower than that experienced by WiFi a few years ago.
And as for the semi-serious mention of refrigerators with embedded modules in the PR.... I remember the "screen fridge" in all those house-of-the-future demos back in the late 1990s. It says a lot about the balance of reality vs. wishful thinking in the whole announcement.
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