Dual-mode handsets to make their presence felt soon

Our Bureau

Bangalore, March 15

New services such as fixed to mobile convergence (FMC) will drive the adoption of next generation handsets.

Next generation handsets, such as the dual mode handsets (those that have both Bluetooth and WiFi) will be able to access the Internet seamlessly. Broadband on mobiles can be useful for many purposes (such as browsing the Web, email, chatting, download and synchronising), but Voice over IP (VoIP) will be the killer application that kick starts its use.

FMC will enable users to seamlessly shift from a cellular call to a Voice over IP call over the Internet. India will see the dawn of FMC in two years, said Mr Jeffery Torrance, VP, Fixed Mobile Convergence Solutions, CSR Plc, a UK-based WiFi chip maker. This will signal the adoption of dual mode handsets.

CSR will be producing its second generation of UniFi chips for handsets later this year. Countries such as Korea and the US will adopt these handsets quickly due to the high broadband penetration, he said.

Dual mode handsets are forecasted to reach 28 million units by the end of this decade, according Mr Jin-Sung Choi, Vice President, Head, Mobile Communications Tech Research Lab, LG Electronics Inc, Korea. Currently around 34 per cent of cell phones have Bluetooth in them and over the coming years a similar attach rate for WiFi may be achieved, said Mr Torrance.

While Bluetooth may have failed to live up to its hype, it may help drive the adoption of dual mode handsets with legislations coming into place that disallow drivers to use their mobiles unless it is hands-free.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 16, 2006)
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