Posted in: Gadgets & Handsets, Wireless Communications

Do I Need Wi-Fi on my Mobile Phone?

After more than a year with my Blackberry 7100t, I am thinking of getting a new phone. I am particularly intrigued by two new offerings from HTC that will be made available via T-Mobile. There are rumors and visual evidence that the SDA and MDA will be made available for pre-order later this week. Both devices run Windows Mobile (I am willing to give it another shot) and include Wi-Fi.

I continue to be a bit of a skeptic about the value of having Wi-Fi on my mobile phone. I have yet to see a really compelling use case. Need mobile email? Blackberry or the new add-ons for Exchange work fine over a GPRS connection. Web browsing? Any EDGE (or higher) phone ought to do the trick, albeit slowly. VoIP applications? Not compelling. The only wireless connection I have that is less reliable than my cell phone is my WiFi connection. Complex switching/handoffs from mobile to WiFi – sounds like a good concept but I have yet to see a really compelling implementation that actually works. Plus, WiFi radios tend to be battery hogs.

I am all for packing more features on phones. At this point, I would rather see the money spent to enable WiFi used to add other feaures, like better cameras, sharper screens, or more on-board memory for content. And a beefier processor would’t hurt either.

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