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April 18, 2007
Wifi only phones and other communication devices have met with a lukewarm response to the concept from consumers, according to research carried out by In-Stat.
The industry researcher said that although wifi-only gadgets could theoretically replace cellular phones for some users, nearly 25 per cent of respondents to a web survey expressed absolutely no interest in the concept.
A majority of respondents expressed a marginal interest in wifi-only phones but overall, the technology is widely desired as complementary to cellular.
“Overall survey results indicated that Wi-Fi is a desirable buddy technology to cellular,” said Gemma Tedesco, In-Stat analyst. “The majority of respondents were interested in having a wifi communication device together with their cellular phones, albeit only if the wifi phone or communicator device is cheap.”
Respondents cited wifi’s limited range and Quality-of-Service (QoS) issues as major obstacles to the technology’s use as a voice communication technology. Survey results also indicated that current pricing for wifi-only phones is significantly higher than what respondents are willing to pay for the devices.
In-Stat found that the majority of respondents had never heard of the Sony mylo, a personal communication device that supports wifi and VoIP but not cellular.
The result form the survey, “reinforce the sluggishness of the wifi-only phone market,” said In-Stat. “Although wifi-nly phones have been out on the market since 2000 – starting in the business segment and moving to the consumer space – this market has never managed to ramp up or attract much consumer interest.”
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