Built in mobile broadband, the next big thing?

Just the day before yesterday, I wrote the following in a post after ordering my new eeePC,

As for the phone? Well, if this little device can do all of the above, all I’ll really need to is take calls and send text messages. So even a minor upgrade to the free Nokia that came with this year’s home broadband signup scheme will do. The downside is that I won’t be able to check email if there’s no Wifi where I’m at, something that a smart phone would probably allow me to do. I won’t be “always on”. That’s the tradeoff in this purchase decision. Lets see what happens after a test drive through the developing world!

Today, I came across this report that states that there’s an unmet demand for built in mobile broadband in laptops, to the estimated tune of 70 million pieces worldwide. I don’t know about that, but I would surely buy if it was affordable for just the reason’s mentioned above. In most developing nations, wifi isn’t as easily available as it is in the US or Europe, and certainly nothing like the Bay Area and the tradeoff that I’d be making with the eeePC over a smartphone would be just that – If there wasn’t any wifi, I’d not be able to surf like I would be with any internet enabled mobile phone.

If the [approx] 400 USD eeePC had the ability to pick up mobile network signals just like a cellular phone, it’d be the perfect transitional device for travelers who criss cross the world, and a best selling affordable PC in emerging markets. Come on ASUS, give me a USB device that will pick up these signals as an accessory to the eeePC and you have a clear winner!

Here’s the link to the article and a snippet,

US$50 billion of business awaits anyone who can fill the enormous – but still untapped – demand for PC notebooks with built-in mobile broadband. This result is the conclusion of a pioneering survey by the GSM Association and Microsoft into mobile broadband computing. […]
As mobile operators examine how best to reach potential subscribers, the GSMA and many of its largest operator members are launching a competition to identify devices and manufacturers able to serve the untapped market. Notebook manufacturers and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) will be asked to propose new designs that can meet this currently unmet need for mass-market priced mobile broadband notebooks.

Update 31st December 2007: As the connection wizard on my eeePC shows, it comes with the choice of  GSM 3G{UMTS} or HSDPA connections as well!

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