The World of Mobile 5 Years Ago – October 2006

Only 5 years ago, the mobile domain was a radically different one. You don't believe it, it's just 5 year? Let me remind you: No iPhone, no Android (both only talked about in 2007). So what was going on then? Let's have a look at my blog entries from back then:

Mobile Virtual Network Operators: One can look at cheap, no frills mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) from many different angles and come to good and bad results. Undisputed, however, that they had a big impact on the German market with prices tumbling significantly in only 18 months. What we take for granted today, going into a supermarket and buying a SIM card and perhaps a mobile phone or 3G dongle with it for a couple of Euros, it started back in 2005 and showed strong results in 2006. Other countries introduced MVNOs as well but under different circumstances with less competition. In France, for example, I am waiting up until today for the market getting a kick.

VoIP over Wi-Fi: Yes, no kidding, VoIP was already working back then, well, more or less…

EDGE: 5 years ago, I was musing on how long EDGE will be good enough for notebook connectivity. Now I can give the answer with tens of megabits of speed now offered by UMTS networks: It is not not good enough anymore šŸ™‚ In that same post I was also wondering if we would see UMTS 900 in Europe in 5 years. And indeed, we do today, UMTS 900 is deployed in Finland, in the countryside in France in some places and in big cities in the UK such as London. Yes, UMTS 900, the idea was there already 5 years ago.

The Nokia N80: The predecessor to the iconic Nokia N95, one of the very first UMTS phones with Wi-Fi inside was unveiled at Nokia world in 2006. At the time, a risky move as network operators were probably not very happy about this. 5 years ago we were talking about 40 MB RAM, 200 MHz ARM processors and 3 megapixel cameras as the very top level in mobile. Today we are talking about mobile phones with 1 GB of RAM and dual-core 1.2 GHz ARM processors and dedicated video hardware encoding and decoding HD video and 12 megapixel images in real time. If you extrapolate this 5 years into the future, i.e. to 2016, we are talking of performance we have on desktops today. How that will be accomplished without draining the battery in half an hour or less remains to be seen. However, if you had told someone back in 2006 about phones with such specs, it would have been hard to imagine.

My killer-app from back then still not here now: Back in 2006 I was hoping that with the N95 I would get a feature that I could send my location to someone instantly instead of explaining where I am for 5 minutes in a call. From a technical point of view it has been working for many years now. And I had opportunities enough to use it. But either the person on the other uses a different maps application, has no smartphone, etc. etc. The lack of a standardized solution for this and use by a critical mass of users is still preventing things. Perhaps in another 5 years?…

WiMAX was a hot topic: Well, pretty much forgotten by now.

Video Calling: I've been using it occasionally over the past years but it hasn't taken up due to a number of reasons. Now Apple is giving it another try.

Wi-Fi 802.11n: What's currently in all high end Wi-Fi devices was finalized as a standard just around back in 2006. Despite the time that has passed I still see interoperability issues in the wild with devices with a chipset of one manufacturer not working well with devices that have a chipset of another manufacturer in sight. Not ideal.

I guess you agree, lots has happened in the past 5 years…

One thought on “The World of Mobile 5 Years Ago – October 2006”

  1. Yes, a lot has happened. However, alongside new innovations that sizzle mind, there have been some changes to worry about. Name the main mobile manufactures 5-10 years ago. They were Nokia, Siemens, Alcatel, Ericsson, and Motorola. Four of the five were in Europe. Now seems only struggling Nokia represents Europe. The vast number of mobile phones is now coming from Asia. Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony Ericsson ā€“ are well established brands, Huawei and ZTE are encroaching on Europe. What has happened? Donā€™t Europeans want to make mobile phones? Any thoughts?

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