The Hype Around WiFi Phones

This morning there is a lot of talk over The New York Times story, The Air Is Free, about the coming onslaught of WiFi handsets and how people can make calls piggy backing on open wireless connections. The WiFi phones sound so cool, but many forget that what is cool, is not always that functional.

The consumer experience on these devices remains horrible, and logging onto a WiFi network remains as much a mystery as the Chicago Cub’s decision to give a $136 million contract to Alfonso Soriono. We have tried most of the new WiFi phones, and despite being ten feet away from the access point, have run into serious problems. Similar challenges crop up when using dual mode cellular phones such as the E61.

WiFi, is a bit of a black magic really, and even on laptops, one is challenged constantly to stay connected. It is good to see that there are others who are equally concerned about the consumer experience, though others are happy with the prospect of disruption. Of course, no one doubts the potential and the disruptive nature of these devices, but the hype needs to be tempered with reality. Other wise you are merely setting up phone buyers to be disappointed.

Additional reading: #1, #2, #3.