There are more than 5 billion mobile phones in use worldwide. That’s billion, with a "B." I carry two — my personal iPhone and my work BlackBerry — and have a growing collection of other wireless devices, including a Kindle2, a Verizon Wireless modem card and a laptop computer.
Let’s face it, we’re in a wireless world. And there’s a very good chance that you’ll be having more things connected to wireless networks very soon. How about a smart refrigerator that keeps an inventory of your groceries on hand and compiles a shopping list for you? How about a glucose meter built in to a cell phone that sends data to an always-updated medical file? How about a prescription bottle that knows whether you’ve opened it today and sends a reminder to your phone if you’ve forgotten to take your pill? These things are here already.
For my next column, I interviewed Rob Mesirow, director of the upcoming 2010 International CTIA Wireless show, scheduled to run Tuesday through Thursday in Las Vegas. In addition to what you’ll read Sunday, he shared his thoughts of the Apple iPad, which is slated to debut on April 3.
"It seems like a really interesting device," he said. "I find myself asking, ‘How will I use this?’ Will it be a homebound device? Part of a home hub system? Will it be like other devices that are left in the kitchen and have access to weather, e-mail and more or less sifts the Net, as opposed to being a robust device?"
Nobody has the answers. Consumer behavior will show us how the sleek, lightweight touch-screen device will be used.
Mesirow said that cloud computing, which refers to a segment of the industry that relies on networked storage of data and programs, is already changing the way people use computers.
"Cloud computing will be so important for mobile devices. It allows easier access and a place for complicated apps (applications) to be processing in the cloud. Why do them on board? That’s why netbooks have been so cheap."
Mesirow said that in addition to the 5 billion mobile phones in use worldwide, the number of other devices using wireless technology is soaring.
“How do you count wireless customers?’ he asked. “Is it a subscriber? A subscription? Is it a mobile device?"
He added that for the first time eight months ago, there were more mobile modules (nonphones) certified in a month, than handsets (phones).
It makes me wonder when we’ll run out of phone numbers.