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

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Tue Feb 2 19:03:23 PST 2010

Jeff Bone wrote:
> ...
> Re:  removable media, it's just a losing idea and always has been:  
> media, formats, acceptable capacities, connectors, drive technologies, 
> etc. etc. etc. all change so quickly that it's been a loser for 
> years.  It's just not "durable" (in the long-term sense, i.e., useful 
> for more than a few years.)  That hasn't kept millions of people from 
> spending billions of dollars on such storage over the years, and 
> consequently losing it.  It also hasn't kept Sony and others for 
> attempting, repeatedly, to lock a market using one kind of proprietary 
> media and storage technology after another.  It's a vicious cycle.  
> (Obligatory disclosure;  yeah, there are those rare occasions when 
> it's useful --- bricked device rescue, for example.  So yeah, I've got 
> a thumb drive or two for those kinds of uses myself, despite being 
> "philosophically" opposed to the idea of removable media in general...)

USB works for this for non-pocket use.  MicroSD or whatever is fine.  
There was plenty of crap and crap strategies. (I'm looking at you, 
Sony.)  It doesn't matter much that there are many standards when the 
devices cost $16 and 54-in-1 adapters cost $12.

> As for the whole ethernet / wi-fi thing, that might be a reasonable 
> extrapolation, but really I'm not too offended by that.  But then, I 
> don't have to buy a contract with either one of those... ;-)  (The 
> subtext of my objection about 3G +/- Wi-Fi is that, given their 
> druthers, I'm sure the carriers would love to force the device 
> manufacturers to *only* put 3G interfaces into *everything* --- and of 
> course you'd need a contract, or at least a line-item on your bill, 
> for each of those.)  I guess in part I just object to the waste of 
> having radios in every (or most, or even multiple) devices (and paying 
> the hardware cost there, marginal though it might be --- and Stephen, 
> you do realize the device manufacturer price-add relative to the 
> wholesale cost-add is in the 10x range, right?) when that radio is 
> useless w/o a contract /

I don't care if it is cheap enough.  Wifi is nothing now.  ZigBee will 
be like $0.50 per device at some point.
3G hardware isn't that great size/price wise, but not horrible.  4G 
(WiMax/LTE (maybe) is similar to 3G hardware in price now.  Presumably 
it could be a lot cheaper.

I agree that useless radios everywhere aren't that great.  And I don't 
want more than 1 or 2 "contract" "lines", total.  On the other hand, the 
same radio could implement WiFi, WiMax, LTE, etc.  There may be no 
reason we can't do WiMax distances over unlicensed spectrum for 
WiFi-like usage while being able to do carrier WiMax when desired.
> additional business relationship with somebody who answers the other 
> end of that signal.  ONE such relationship, and one such device, is 
> technically sufficient for most use cases (even the multi-device ones) 
> I can come up, certainly for myself and I would assume for most 
> folks.  (Stephen's objections notwithstanding;  though I don't 
> actually understand why he assumes, for example, that using your phone 
> as your 3G->Wi-Fi router would preclude its use as your phone at any 
> given moment...)

Because that's how CDMA2000 3G (and 2.5G and 1G) works.  With 4G, 
everyone is VOIP so that goes away completely.
> Re: the dumb / smart network deal, but of course.  This was nailed 
> years ago by a sometime friend of mine, who subsequently got fired for 
> taking the trouble to speak truth to power. ;-)  For my own little 
> part in this, my first company made its first nut *proving* the 
> point;  four scruffy guys and a POP client killed a 9-figure 
> investment in rather stupid (ahem) "smart network" technology by 
> AT&T.  That my argument wouldn't sit well with the telcos doesn't, of 
> course, invalidate it.  In fact, I'd say that it supports it. ;-) :-)

I agree, telecoms squandered massive amounts of cash on stupidity and 
obstinance.  And now they're losing most of their customers and angles.
> jb


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