Technology seems to be developing faster than ever these days, especially when it comes to wireless technology and broadband networks. 3G has only just been rolled out through much of the developed world and there is already talk of the LTE or Long Term Evolution protocol, better recognized as broadband.
However, this is happening despite the fact that current 3G or third generation wireless technologies have only penetrated only 14 percent of the world’s 5.12 Billion mobile phone subscribers. The quantity of 3G subscribers is growing a little over 50 million a month as of September of 2010, much of which are attributed to the deployment of 3G in newer markets such as China, India and Brazil.
Snowballing demand for faster upload and download speeds and larger bandwidth capacities are probably behind this push that could change the manner we perceive technology forever.
The War Between The Standards
The evolution of mobile phone standards is categorized based on the download and upload rates for data transfer. The present technology in wide distribution right now is 3G which is short for the third generation of wireless communication technologies. 3G provides quicker transfer rates not only for voice signals but also for non-voice data allowing multimedia applications such as video telephony to be used more realistically.
But once 3G technologies are rolled out, new releases in the technology followed suit including HSDPA or High-Speed Downlink Packet Access or what is also known as 3GPP release 5 and HSUPA or 3GPP release 6. In due course, these protocols are also being upgraded to HSPA or High Speed Packet Access. HSPA can be used for most GSM frequencies giving users more flexibility and universal roving capabilities.
The world has just begun to see the wonders HSPA is bringing and here comes another upgrade in the form of LTE or Long Term Evolution. With another technology called WiMax, LTE is considered the 4G or fourth generation of wireless technologies. It’s architecture is focused on Internet Protocol (IP) and is designed to facilitate easier Internet access through cellular phones and alternative mobile devices.
TeliaSonera was the first to make LTE available to the public in Stockholm and Oslo but prior to that the European Commission made announcements that it will induct much in the investigation and development of LTE and 4G systems. The United States plans to follow suit with MetroPCS, Verizon and AT&T made similar pronouncements to convert their networks to 4G.
Now, there is still a scarcity of LTE-enabled devices but among these include tablet PCs and other portable computers. These tablets and netbooks have dual mode capabilities and can run on both HSPA and LTE networks. As more and more networks continue to shift towards these new 4G technologies, it would be a wise decision for you as a reseller to focus your investments towards devices designed with these technologies in mind.
Enter the Tablet
One device that you should set your eyes on as an online reseller is the tablet personal computer. A portable computer with a touchscreen as its main input device, tablets provide the mobility of mobile phones and the power of laptops in one stylish device. It is different from a personal computer in the implication that it has no tangible keyboard but uses an onscreen virtual alternative. Tablets also use low-powered hardware components and are not designed for use with demanding power applications.
Unlike smartphones, tablet PCs are also not mobile phones although they are designed for Internet and local network connection. Tablets have built in Wi-Fi capabilities as well as 3G / 4G connectivity. This enables the tablet to connect to the internet through any hotspot or if this is not to be had can connect through the mobile 3G/4G network at extra costs. Tablets are preferred by people who want to access the Internet on the go but are not content with the small screen and contained capabilities of smartphones.
Nevertheless, later and newer models of tablets will be designed as a complete communications solution and will have the same functionality and features as mobile phone handsets using interchangeable 3G or 4G connectivity capabilities. More and more people are into online streaming video even while on the go and tablets using the faster LTE network would be the perfect device to provide them with such capabilities – as well as make phone calls.
Right now the tablet trade is occupied by a few original equipment manufacturers such as the Apple iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy tablet. People who are looking for alternative devices from China might find a wind variety of products available such the APads or ePads or similar variations using Google’s Android system.
There might still be some problems with 3G or 4G connectivity with these Chinese products as these standards are just beginning to take off in new markets such as China and India. As a reseller, you should be well vigilant of this existing limitation and should carefully ask about the 3G or 4G capabilities of these devices particularly with regards to their operating frequencies. However, with the rate of development China-made products are being churned out, it would just be a matter of months before full pledged 3G and 4G tablets with the same functionality and features as branded ones will be made available in the market.