|By Jeremy Geelan||
|July 28, 2003 10:56 AM EDT||
With this issue we begin our Grand Jury on Wi-Fi.
It doesn't matter where you look any more, whether in the major newspapers and weeklies or the specialist technology magazines, Wi-Fi is everywhere. But what is the business model driving this explosion of interest and attention? That's what WBT - on behalf of the industry at large - is asking. Wireless does not need another bubble.
You need only to stop five wireless analysts to get six different answers, of course, and it isn't much better if you restrict your investigations to the Wi-Fi wannabes themselves, whether it be to the niche players with a "killer bizplan" that momentarily (or so at least they say) are about to be capitalized to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, or to the giants like Cisco and Intel, or the current user base of Wi-Fi today - the road warriors, the conference bloggers, the students on campus, whomever. Everybody has a different, often radically different, view.
WBT has decided accordingly to take a cross-section of viewpoints and showcase them so that you can make up your own mind.
This month we start with The Skeptic ("Completely unproven business model - a niche product for niche users"), The Evangelist ("Using a Wi-Fi-phone, operating as a device on the wireless network, all the phones in a company would be 'mobile phones,' at least within the confines of the network?"), and The Historian ("Wi-Fi's real value is that it extends the Internet and other types of connectivity - such as VPNs").
Next month the spotlight will move to The Venture Capitalist, The Wireless Telco, and - last but absolutely not least - The End User. At which point we will turn the whole discussion over to you, the reader, and conduct a comprehensive attitude survey at www.wbt2.com.
But debating whether Wi-Fi is disruptive, productive, or perhaps neither, is only one of the many areas of interest in this month's fuller-than-ever issue. If you are one of the many people who had been waiting to hear what our verdict is on Handspring's latest handheld/phone combo, the Treo 600, then you will certainly want to turn to our featured review on page 43 by Bob Hendry. If you like WBT most for our commitment to showcasing Wireless That Works, you'll want instead to go to page 24 to read Andrew Martyn's superbly written account of how, in the post-SARS world, mobile devices are now enabling instant access to medical records for doctors and other medical workers.
WBT's VC editor Tim Bresien is back with another of his characteristically insightful pieces. This time he looks at serial entrepreneur Philippe Kahn. Currently CEO of LightSurf Technologies, his third successful startup in as many tries, Kahn's latest business - when he's not sailing his private yacht, which he also does successfully, it would seem - centers on transcoding mobile content (Sprint's highly publicized Picture Mail application on its PCS Vision plan is powered by the LightSurf Instant Imaging Platform). Bresien also talks to him about Starfish Software, the pioneering effort to bring synchronization capabilities to mobile devices that Kahn sold to Motorola in 1998.
In other articles, Atif Azim looks at Wireless Cyptography, Jonathon Linner at SMS Marketing, and David Geer concludes our three-part series on the Wireless Space Shuttle. In this month's Wireless Developer section we are pleased to bring an Absolute Beginners' Guide to developing for Series 60 devices using Metrowerks' CodeWarrior tool.
WBT wouldn't be WBT without the voices of real-world executives from the wireless industry. This month, InPhonic CEO David Steinberg makes the case for the wireless world still being all about voice.
You are almost certain to find some material in this - or any - issue of WBT that you don't agree with, and if that's the case, then please holler - that's exactly what the Feedback/Letters page is for (of course we welcome your positive comments as well!). In this still-evolving and often chaotic space what more, really, could you ask of the only magazine for IT and business leaders committed to showcasing Wireless That Works than that it tries to help you keep up, remain profitable, and above all make sense of it all?
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