OK, we’ve done with the big 5 manufacturers, now what else can we expect in mobile phone land in 2007?
Well, with both T-Mobile and 3 now offering flat-rate mobile broadband, and 3 in particular offering an open broadband package, it seems that the mobile Internet might finally take off.
Price was always going to be a limiting factor for the service when data was charged by the bit, but with users finally free to experiment with new services, and companies such as Google and Yahoo making serious plays into the mobile services market, 2007 might finally be the year that everyone starts using web- and Internet-based services on their mobile phones.
Also, with more and more new phones coming with WiFi, and Skype- and other VoIP-based phones converging with mobile phones, the concept of a single phone for both fixed- and mobile-calls might become the norm, as opposed to the expensive novelty it is today.
Such convergence will also help drive the adoption of Mobile Internet, as users will expect to be connected to the Internet in some form or another at all times. At the end of 2007, we might start to forget there’s a difference between Internet connecivity and mobile phone connectivity, and just take for granted the fact that our phones are connected to the Interent.
In addition, the mobile phone networks are upgrading their services, with the new high speed HSDPA standard becoming the norm in many new phones and across many networks.
Cingular in the US has already announced it’ll up its HSDPA speed across its US network to 7.2Mbps, which, with the combination of flat-rate pricing (should Cingular decide to go down that route), could radically change the way we use our phones, and indeed the Web, in the future. 2007 could be the begining of the end for our current perception of mobile- and fixed-line networks being separate entities.
Finally, Google have announced a partnership with Orange to develop an Orange Googlephone. Although this won’t be released until 2008, it shows how serious Google are about the future of the mobile Internet, and also gives in an indication of how these two worlds are about to converge in a big way. 2007 really will see the start of this brave new world emerging.