[FoRK] Portable hotspots (or, why the iPad doesn't need 3G / future of Bluetooth questionable?)

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Tue Feb 2 08:04:10 PST 2010

Have already mentioned by reservations about 3G in the iPad.  I'm  
certainly not going to go down that road;  entertained the thought  
briefly, but have concluded that it's stupid.  (Like removable media  
before it, this idea of a direct WAN connection + Wi-Fi in every  
mobile device is daft.  That won't keep millions from buying into the  
notion before they find that the friction of having to manage this on  
lots of devices becomes prohibitive.)

Here's the solution:  portable WAN-connected personal hotspots.  The  
Verizon MiFi and similar devices have started to appear all over the  
place --- I first saw this device category appear a couple of years  
back with high-end aftermarket auto outfitters offering a solution  
(other than e.g. tethering your phone.)  In general, I think the  
extrapolation of this category --- the full-fledged, always-on, WAN- 
connected *personal server* / gateway machine for a constellation of  
Wi-Fi enabled devices --- is pretty compelling.  But even as a pure  
networking device, it's useful enough that I'm seriously considering  
adoption of this as a "tool to rely upon / organize around."

FWIW, I also think that it's possible that such things *might*  
undermine the market for Bluetooth devices.  There's really no good  
need for two separate radios in any given device, IMHO.  Aside from  
power concerns, there's no reason that Wi-Fi cannot (and should not)  
service all the needs that Bluetooth presently serves.  The protocol  
stack functionality can easily (and better, I would argue) be layered  
on top of Wi-Fi / IP / ...

Thoughts / feedback?


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