Power consumption, one of the main hurdles to putting 802.11b in cellphones, looks like it won t be a problem, as the new chip only draws about a milliwatt (around 50 milliwatts was the previous norm, so Alps says). They re planning to get the chip into PDAs and digital cameras too, but it looks like talks with the phone manufacturer(s) are furthest along at the moment.
Other candidates for low power, in-phone WiFi chips include Agere’s small-form-factor 802.11g module and the Atheros AR5005G. The Atheros chips support eXtended Range (XR), which is said to significantly boost signal range, although Tom Higgins says it has not been enabled in any Atheros-based products to date.
A combined GPRS/3G/Wi-Fi data card with unlimited data could be in the cards. T-Mobile s CEO said the company has yet to decide whether to launch 3G in the US and will for now implement the “relatively uncomplicated” upgrade to EDGE.
WiFi Cell Phones introduced at GSM World include Motorola’s MPx cell phone which features Microsoft Windows Mobile software, integrated WiFi, Bluetooth and a 1.3 megapixel camera in a clamshell design, and Motorola’s MPx100 Smartphone, a candy-bar design.
Motorola’s main competitor, Nokia also announced their 9500 series WiFi phone, a clamshell “brick” that opens lengthwise. The Sharp TM100 takes T-Mobile customers directly into the mobile multimedia world by one press of a special t-zones button. The UMTS-capable Nokia 7600 supports the Mobile Jukebox service and the viewing of video clips via T-Zones. Nokia’s 7610 megapixel camera phone features a (1152 X 864) camera, 4x digital zoom, 10 minutes of video recording, 72MB of expandable memory, USB, Bluetooth, Java and a RealOne mobile player.
Handy for Starbucks Music On Demand Service.