The BlackBerry 8820’s been making the European rounds by now, and the BlackBerry 8310 will be spreading its GPS love to the consumer market soon enough. GPS is still a far cry from being widespread in handhelds, and it will be some time before it’s as common as camera and music in phones. But for conversation’s sake, let’s say that by the end of 2008 Wi-Fi and GPS will become a common feature in any BlackBerry that comes out. For this week’s Weekly Contest, we ask you dear reader: what’s after Wi-Fi and GPS? Is it simply a matter of expanding their capabilities? Is 3G the next big feature to drop? How about near-field technology? A recent ABI report seems to think so. Maybe WiBree? Whoever can best tap their inner techno-voodoo and see into the future will win 3 games from Bplay.
Russell Shaw at ZDNet, ever-watchful for patents, has dug up a pretty cool one that would let BlackBerrys issue alerts whenever a connection with another device were endangered or cut. Moreover, the non-BlackBerry device could lock up if a connection couldn’t be established. With upcoming Wi-Fi, this could be handy for making sure you stay in range, maybe with a little vibration if your connection’s getting weak. What’s most exciting about this patent from RIM is its implications for Wibree-scale operations. Let’s say your wallet, purse, keys and other daily necessities had one of these low-power, short-range chips in them, simply to make its wireless presence known. Your BlackBerry would be able to give a little buzz if you were out of range of those objects, i.e. you forgot them behind.
For the more professionally-minded, this could be a great way of ensuring secure use of tethered devices. You could ditch the handcuffs, knowing full well that whatever doohickey is in the suitcase won’t work if anyone else has it.
WTRS has issued a report that goes over the big players in converged mobile devices.
1) In spite of the plethora of emerging wireless standards, each has its own niche of dominance without much overlap or competition between them.
2) WiMAX has found a solid niche in the backhaul network.
3) HSPA is making strong progress in handsets and represents a highly competitive service offering for carriers.
4) Bluetooth has expanded the functionality of a handset with the incorporation of WiBree into the SIG. Products based on WiBree will almost certainly enter the market this year.
5) DLNA, with its convergence strategy, has developed a mechanism for providing interoperable consumer electronics and mobile communications devices using only existing networking standards. As a result DLNA compliance affords devices added functionality not available previously.
Wibree just got its merge on with Bluetooth, meaning that within the next year Bluetooth chips will be able to send and receive information from low-power devices such as watches and heart monitors. Nokia developed the technology to focus on low-power, short-range communications. On its own, Wibree can operate just dandy with small devices, but its new partnership with Bluetooth will allow for dual-mode action, so devices that already have Bluetooth will have more connectivity options to other machines.