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Summary:

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 and eliminate the need for other types of mobile devices to have integrated modems.

Smartphones

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

  1. Haven’t we heard all this before though? Change “3G” for “EDGE” and “Wi-Fi” for “Bluetooth” and we can all party like it’s 1999 again!

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    1. Heh, i remember the days of that even if it was closer to 2003 than 1999 for me. I used to have a HP Ipaq and a Sony Ericsson with bluetooth i would dialup through for internet acces.

      At the time i was really able to amaze my friends by listening to streaming music in my car with this combo.

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  2. Two things to consider: First, chances are probably zero that we’re not going to move to metered access, particularly as people share a connection.

    Second… remember the Apple event when there were 278 hotspots in the room and no one could get WiFi because of the interference? Welcome to the future :)

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  3. Rumor has it the new iPhone 4a to be revealed on Friday (10am in Cupertino,CA) will have some hardware fixes. Maybe just Maybe Steve will show its new automatic iHotSpot capabilities.

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  4. Not a big fan of analyst predictions being stated as fact, as in your first sentence. That and we can’t even see the data that this prediction is based on.

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  5. I have use such device for months all base on Coverage, work for me. Does eliminate the co$t of aircard. When on can get other devices online and Tethered to Ipot, PSP, Xbox and labtop and they can connect to the internet.(Well if devise have Wi-fi set). Work for me. Unlimited Talk, Text, Data(tethering)and Internet for $79.99 Yes! You said it…
    (We may all turn into our own personal hotspot compliments of the smartphone.) I know I have!

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  6. The study forgot to mention that the 2GB AT&T mobile broadband cap will become obsolete by 2014 as well. What’s with this mad rush of developing mobile hotspot gear when the infrastructure in the US is far from mature in supporting it? Sporadic 4G coverage, ludicrous 3G usage caps and exorbitant overage charges all tied to a restrictive two-year contract??? Forget it!

    Mobile broadband should cost no more than $35/month given the rise in users today and widespread use of smartphones. Caps should be set at a more generous 14GB, tethering made free and no-contract month-to-month billing become standard. Build an infrastructure to support it and sell devices unlocked. Don’t think it can be done? It’s already happening in Europe!

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  7. HOT TOPIC TODAY – IPHONE 4 FRIDAY !!!

    Yep, Today is the day that millions and millions and millions of four owners get to find out the MOTHER OF ALL FIXES that will finally remedy the antenna issue.

    I am almost as giddy today as when the four first launched. EXCITING 4 SURE :-)

    Too bad those boring Android phones never get this much publicity. Prolly just as well although some might say that ANY publicity is good publicity.

    LESS THAN FIVE HOURS TO GO…….waiting…..waiting…

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  8. Soon we will all be given an embedded communication module at birth. Since most American have no use for the 2nd and 4th quadrants of their cerebral cortex the delivery physician will simply inject appropriate acid to dissolve this unused tissue and then inject some Lithium Ion crystals that will power the embedded LTE Router/WiFi hotspot SoS circuitry which is installed below the medula oblongotta portion of the brain. Also dual antenna will be placed directly into the external ears facing vertically at all times for maximum bandwidth. Any individual who decides to allow a national carrier access to his/her internal “hotspot” shall reap sufficient monthly license fee that they can immediately retire and enjoy the good life.
    The only downside will be the stipulation that the human hotspot will not be allowed to roam outside their designated coordinates so that the national career can blanket the country for seamless access to the corporate network from anywhere a customer is located. This is a small price to pay for the monetary rewards and the simple life that is gained.
    Prepare yourselves for this time will be here sooner than you think. :-)

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  9. I believe it’s more likely we’ll see devices with more integrated persistent connections to the Internet than we’ll see “mobile hotspots”.

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