Last few days, there has been frenzy of activity around laptop makers – Dell, HP, Sony and Panasonic – making noise about the fact that they are going to include 3G (EVDO/HSDPA) modems in future machines. It is a welcome development, but makes me wonder why this frenzy? I suspect this will help laptop guys make up for the vanishing margins in their core hardware business. By becoming “wireless resellers” they are hoping to capture a piece of the subscription revenues. I am not sure what the uptake for these services is going to be, but one thing is for sure, this is good news for 3G wireless modem makers – Sierra Wireless and Novatel. I wonder when Apple is going to include WAN connectivity in its Powerbooks, especially the 12 inch version.
6 thoughts on “The Race to 3G Enable Laptops… Why?”
There are a few issues with embedding EVDO in laptops. How can you hook up an external antenna or signal amplifier? What about choice of carriers? The embedded cards are only going to work with one carrier. What about upgrades? What happens when EVDO Rev A comes out? With a PC Card, you buy a new PC Card and you are done. For the PowerBook 12 inch, we are expecting a USB EVDO modem to be available early 2006. There are a few USB EVDO modems discussed at http://www.EVDOinfo.com, but they do not work in the US.
I agree. this is just one way to lock the customers into one service. which is pretty dumb. i wonder how many customers are going to get upset about this once they realize that they are locked into a service plan.
I am sure that it is going to be profitable for the computer manufacturers, as they create a new source of revenue, as they become resellers for carriers. However, it will pay to shop around. For example, Dell just started selling the Novatel V620 and they charge $50 – $70 more than most retailers. So, the uneducated consumer could be paying more.
I think it is a defensive move by Qualcomm, who wants to embed EV-DO technology into laptops before INTEL build their flavour of WiMax bundled onto the motherboard.
For Verizon Wireless, it is great as it allows them to leapfrog the competition esp. Cingular and gives Verizon more leverage at the big corporate which used to be AT&T’s stomping ground.
PC chipset mfg Via currently has a CDMA license and I believe they have future plans for embedding CDMA on the motherboard.
Hmm, wouldn’t be ironic if QCOM becomes the most profitable component on laptops? Why is Intel funding WiMAX again?
Now if AMD could just produce low power laptop CPUs at high volume…
As per OEMs becoming sellers of wireless access plans, ala RadioShack, this would set a very dangerous precedent, which is why I discount it, but with wireless who really knows….
Btw, last time I checked up RSH collected ~$1.75 per subscriber per month. So you would need 10m signups to make this stream material. Frankly given all the complications about plans, billing and CC, this is no bed of roses.
The carriers are going to love embedded EVDO, WHY?
It locks you into a specific carrier – you get less choice. But here is a biggie, you cannot share your EVDO card with another computer – it is built-in. So, carriers get more control, YOU get less.