Qualcomm, a company that has been driving wireless innovation for more than 20 years, has built a chipset that enables notebook vendors to build in a single wide-area wireless modem and have it work almost anywhere in the world. And you can change networks quickly and easily. The chipset is called Gobi. Panasonic and Hewlett-Packard have Gobi-equipped laptops shipping soon, with Dell and Lenovo expected to follow suit this year as well.
In business terms, you could refer to this as a win-win solution for wide-area wireless broadband. The first winner is the notebook manufacturer that can now build a single model that can be shipped virtually anywhere in the world and activated on any 3G network.
The enterprise is also a winner, since buying a fleet of Gobi-enabled notebooks provides the flexibility to choose which network or combination of networks you want to use. If you change network operators, you can simply and easily reconfigure the software to select another network. Further, regardless of which network your employees are on in the United States, when they get to their destination while traveling outside of the United States, they simply turn on their notebook and the best network will be found for them.
Most networks will be offering wide-area high-speed data by the hour and/or the day so you won't have to pay high roaming charges. And, since you can purchase high-speed access by the day, you don't need to pay a monthly fee for employees who don't travel much. When they do travel they can sign up for 24 hours of use, and that use is not limited to one location. They could sign up in Los Angeles at the airport, change planes in Dallas and use it, and then use it in New York in their meeting and, later, in their hotel room.
Clearly, the Gobi solution provides something for everyone.
Wireless connectivity is about making life easier for those who travel on business and need to keep up with email, presentations, sales force information and CRM. Having to seek out a hotspot or pay $10 per night for a hotel room connection can now be a thing of the past.
One notebook, one wide-area wireless modem, data speeds in the 1-3 Mbps range and wireless consumption by the hour, day or month. Life just got a lot easier for enterprise I.T. professionals who have enough to do without having to track which notebook is on what wireless network. And, because this is a ubiquitous solution, the price you pay for wide-area wireless broadband won't add much to the notebook's price.
Andrew Seybold, President and CEO of Andrew Seybold, Inc., is one of the most respected and influential analysts in the wireless industry today.