A new study by In-stat finds that over 2 billion mobile devices will have broadband capability by 2014. The inclusion of modems capable of data transmission could turn us all into personal hotspots. The mobile devices with 3G or 4G capability will be smartphones, and the ability to share that connectivity may eliminate the need for other types of devices to have integrated modems.
Some folks have been expecting broadband connectivity to be a standard inclusion in all sorts of mobile devices, from personal media players to laptops. Our own Stacey Higginbotham disagrees, as she points out that it makes far more sense to share one data connection with these other devices. The rapid adoption of the smartphone, coupled with the inclusion of 3G and 4G connectivity, will eliminate the need for such integrated modems in these other devices. Rather than put modem chips in other devices, only Wi-Fi needs to be included to share the hotspot from the phone.
Smartphones are already popular — and adoption is rising dramatically. These phones can easily be used as mobile hotspots to get other devices online. No matter how much carriers would prefer otherwise, there is no need to pay for multiple data plans when the one can be shared. Let’s hope more carriers don’t implement metered usage or data caps that make such sharing difficult. Of course, with smartphones becoming full-blown computers in their own right, the need for other types of devices may disappear anyway. We may all turn into our own personal hotspot compliments of the smartphone.
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d): To Win in the Mobile Market, Focus on Consumers