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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Handset brands moving into dongle market

The new Disruptive Analysis report on Mobile Broadband Computing forecasts continued medium-term growth for external USB modems for PCs, albeit after a recession-based flattening of demand in 2009. One of the comments in it is that more handset manufacturers should consider entering the USB modem market.

So it's interesting timing to see that Nokia has just announced entry into the HSPA dongle marketplace.

This follow on from SonyEricsson doing the same earlier this year, and adding in extra functions like GPS and decent industrial design. Then LG, its LTE chipset announcement the other day, also mentioned that it is working on a prototype data card. And Toshiba does this cool-looking dongle/basic phone/MP3/memory hybrid thing called a G450.

I wonder if we'll see any cool-looking Apple-branded dongles at some point....

3 comments:

John Hamill said...

Hi Dean,

Do you think MacBooks with embedded 3G subscriptions might be more likely? MacBooks are already among the higher margin laptops and since Apple seems to be closer to mobile operators than Google and some other Internet companies, selling 3G subscriptions to the existing loyal MacBook customer base might be a good fit. The interesting thing about this approach would be the implications for iChat. The whole area of convergence between Internet and mobile services has probably not delivered real revenue-generating services ... maybe Steve Jobs might make a better stab at it? I know a lot of Apple fans who would love to have a single identity across their iPhone and MacBook.

John.

Dean Bubley said...

John

Yes, it's certainly possible that Apple will do that as well, although I also reckon they might want to address their installed loyal base of "legacy" users as well.

A physical dongle could do other stuff too, perhaps related to iPod/iPhone connectivity or something else cool.

On a more practical note, I'm not sure how the mix of aluminium Macbook chassis and internal radio antennas might coexist. Doesn't seem to be a problem for WiFi, but I guess it may have needed more time for testing with cellular. (This is just my random musing by the way - I haven't heard anything about this)

Dean

John Hamill said...

Dean,

Sounds interesting. I use MobileMe at the minute and I find it hugely useful. I think it would be really interesting to see Apple add voice services according to the same model. I saw this patent application from Apple a few months ago.

http://www.macrumors.com/2008/06/19/iphone-sensors-and-ichat-voip-integration/

The link at the bottom includes a video of a girl making a call from iChat. Her iPhone is in it's dock beside her MacBook and when she lifts it and walks away from the laptop, the voice audio from the call is already there.

John.