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Subject: When will we have cheap ubiquitous portable internet? rss

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Neil Carr
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To the tech geeks out there...

When are we going to have inexpensive service that allows us to get the whole internet in a hand portable format?

I just read that Vermont is FINALLY going to get the iPhone with AT&T service in January. While not perfect, the iPhone comes close in being the "convergence" devices that back in '98 I whinningly wondered did not exist then.

Anyway, so I go to AT&T to see how much it would cost to get the data plan so I can finally walk into a game store and summon BGG when I see something interesting. It ends up costing $130 a month, and that's too much. My wife and I pay $70 a month for two cell phone lines. So how many years will I have to wait until the whole system is upgraded to the point where we pay the same amount so we both have fully glitzed out iPhone-like capabilities?

I can't stand technology and the slow trickle down nature of its distribution. Can't some mega billionaire make something, refine it to the point of perfection in secret, and then mass produce it so it's an overnight success to the unwashed masses? It isn't realistic in any sense, but I wish someone would risk billions so I could experience a 20 year leap in technology overnight.

Imagine if the guy who made the Segway did everything the same, he let some rumors out of his new amazing invention, did all of the build up to it's initial unveiling, etc. However, when it finally was shown to the public he'd have said, "and you'll be able to get one in every department store around the country in about a month, and it'll only cost $100!"

That's what I'd like to see.

Hmm... this is turning into a rant... and on Christmas no less!

Merry Christmas everyone!
 
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Xander Fulton
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Yes, but...why?

I mean, if the entire point of existence is raking in enormous profits, to the point of taking as much advantage of your fellow man as he is willing to allow...isn't the logical thing to do to keep raising prices until you aren't selling new units?

I mean...what...lowering prices so that the MASSES could afford something?!? Madness! What are you, some kind of socialist? You should only have as much freedom of information as you can personally afford! THAT is the capitalist way of doing things! arrrh
 
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steve mizuno
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XanderF wrote:
Yes, but...why?

I mean, if the entire point of existence is raking in enormous profits, to the point of taking as much advantage of your fellow man as he is willing to allow...isn't the logical thing to do to keep raising prices until you aren't selling new units?

I mean...what...lowering prices so that the MASSES could afford something?!? Madness! What are you, some kind of socialist? You should only have as much freedom of information as you can personally afford! THAT is the capitalist way of doing things! :arrrh:


I was in the middle of replying when this popped up. I agree... the only thing that drives the capitalist market price down is volume and more profits.

Really, though, there are two separate threads to this - one being the hardware appliance end, and the other being the connectivity charge.

Until there is enough demand and bandwidth available to drive both these price levels down, there will be no change in the market. I believe that one of the serious barriers to entry for this stuff is that, you must admit, using these things (crackberries, Iphones, etc.) is not intuitive for all individuals. With so much of our population at the upper edges of the age range (55+), and most of them with little or no inclination to purchase / use / learn to use portable internet appliances, there must be widespread adoption at much higher levels in the other demographics to force the competition to occur.

That's assuming that there will be competition. Either collusion or other barriers to entry the market could be manipulated by the current reigning corporations - and this will cause the wait for $75 internet devices and $50 a month data plans to be much longer than you might otherwise expect.

Corporations must be forced to accept lower margins and higher volumes before there will be the sort of seminal change you are asking about.

Only competition will force this to occur, and I don't see it happening anytime soon. However, my crystal ball has proven to be somewhat... erratic in its functioning. (Although I did predict that we would run into a guerilla war we would not want to fight in Iraq, just ask anyone who would talk to me about it...)
 
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Dave Lartigue
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I'm very excited about this SkyNet project I've been hearing about!
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Philip Johnson
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Unfortunately, the new iPhone heralded the rate hikes by AT&T, but at least it was for a reason. The old iPhone cost $400/$500 for the 8GB/16GB models. The iPhone 3G costs $200/$300 for the corresponding models. This isn't a price drop by Apple, it's a subsidy by AT&T. AT&T is actually paying Apple the $200 up front for each phone sold, and then recouping it over the course of your required 2 year contract.

Of course, that's not to say that the plans were reasonable to begin with, but after using the iPhone for 4 months, I think it's well worth it.
 
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scott
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echoota wrote:
To the tech geeks out there...

When are we going to have inexpensive service that allows us to get the whole internet in a hand portable format?



Imagine a world where you could have a portable computer that could hook up to the internet everywhere.

Imagine putting Skype on it.

Imagine no one needing cellphone contracts again...

This is why it will not happen without government intervention (I am not necessarily advocating this)
 
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