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Notebook PCs go mobile broadband

Tue, 09/30/2008 - 8:15am
Rhonda Wickham, Wireless Week

Consumers soon will be able to forget about looking for Wi-Fi hotspots. Instead, they will just need to look for the seal of “mobile broadband” approval on future notebook PCs.

Sixteen IT and mobile companies have gotten behind a GSMA-led initiative to pre-install mobile broadband modules into future notebook PCs, making them ready to surf the Internet at current 3G speeds.To support this initiative, the GSMA has created the mobile broadband service mark, a global identifier that will let consumers find “ready-to-run” mobile broadband devices.

Shiv K. Bakhshi, IDC’s director of mobility research, said there will always be a place for Wi-Fi, but that mobile broadband will liberate users “from the spatial tyranny of the so-called ‘hotspot.’”

Launch participants include 3 Group, Asus, Dell, ECS, Ericsson, Gemalto, Lenovo, Microsoft, Orange, Qualcomm, Telefónica Europe, Telecom Italia, TeliaSonera, T-Mobile, Toshiba and Vodafone.

According to Mike O’Hara, spokesman for the GSMA, notebook PCs are just the first target of the initiative. The companies plan to also target a range of previously unconnected devices including cameras, MP3 players, refrigerators, cars and set-top boxes.

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