5 Years Ago in Mobile

About 5 and a half years ago I started this blog and it's been a tremendous project ever since. One of the benefits that now appears is that I can look back and see what was "moving" me 5 years ago, giving interesting insights into how the mobile landscape has changed since. So here's what wrote about 5 years ago, in August 2006:

Smartphone Wi-Fi Sharing: Google introduced Wi-Fi sharing on their Android platform not too long ago. My first thoughts on the topic are back from August 2006. The Nokia N80 was one of the first if not the first phone with a Wi-Fi chip inside, without Wi-Fi sharing of course. At the time the discussion was more about whether Wi-Fi will survive in phones at all with some network operators being less than happy about it in the first place.

3G Roaming Issues: According to my notes I bought my first 3G phone in December 2004. One and a half years later, many 3G networks were launched and I made my first roaming experiences. At the time, there were still quite a number of interoperability issues between my mobile device and different networks I tried it in as documented in this post on "roaming pleasures with pitfalls". Since then things have improved a lot but there are still some quirks today as documented here in 2011.

3G Connection Sharing: One of the most popular blog entries every according to my statistics is this post on how to share a 3G connection with others via Windows XP. Now that Wi-Fi sharing becomes more common place on smartphones, the necessity for this is likely to diminish. But for years this approach has served me on many occasions.

3G Video Calls: Yes, video calling started to pick up in 2006 as reported here from an Italian supermarket. The trend didn't accelerate though for many reasons such as patchy 3G coverage and steep pricing but it has found its uses. With Skype on the desktop today, iPhone facetime, better 3G networks and a "different" pricing structure for calls (you pay for connectivity not for call duration) things might yet again another turn.

EDGE: Faster GPRS was on its way to networks helping me in many situations where 3G coverage could not be found.

US Spectrum Auctions: The AWS band (1700/2100 MHz) was on the block and T-Mobile bought quite a bit to launch their 3G service in the US. At the time I asked what the US government would do with the money. Looks like they did what everyone else did, the used it for other means than fostering the telecommunication landscape in their country.

Phone Software Update: My first phone that allowed software updates from home was the Siemens S45 and I made good use of it to improve the stability of GPRS, especially while roaming. In 2006, Nokia also added this functionality to their smartphones and I reported on updating my, at the time, brand new N70. This has since become a common phenomena, semi- or fully automatic updates of installed apps like on the PC is now the norm rather than the exception. It's another indication how the PC and mobile world are moving closer to each other.

2 Billion Mobile Users: The middle of the last decade was the time when mobile accelerated in developing countries. In 2006 2 billion subscriptions on the globe had been reached, up from one billion two and a half years earlier. Today, 5 years later we are well beyond the 5 billion mark and the number of subscriptions is still rising by a similar number as back in 2006 as per the "subscriber counter" at the bottom of the GSM Assocication web site. Incredible!