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Browsing on Cell Phones...No.

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Are you ready to do more than talk on your cell phone? Bloomberg Boot Camp... a report on today's technology. The nation's wireless carriers and cell phone makers are in the midst of deploying phones and services that will use higher speed networks. They are counting on consumers wanting to surf the Web... check email... and even download games and music to handheld devices. But not everyone thinks there is a whole lot of consumer demand. At GoAmerica... a wireless data solutions company that focuses on the corporate market... CEO Aaron Dobrinsky tells us...

"Some of the misconceptions that have been out there historically have been that wireless data is quote unquote... a consumer market... that I'm going to watch a video over my phone or that I'm going to take out my Compaq iPaq and be able to watch either a video or listen to a CD off it or the like. Downloading that over the air. Well of course I could do that with the device itself, you're not going to do that over wireless. But there really is not a market today in our opinion for wireless data for a consumer market. And so when it comes to business type applications, it's really very data intensive... and the networks that exist today as well as the current 2.5G deployments are more than adequate to handle that."

If Dobrinsky is right... it could take wireless carriers a long time to recoup their investments. They are planning to spur consumer interest with things like multimedia messaging... that can include pictures and text. The industry has some convincing to do... after many consumers were disappointed with and gave up on wireless Web services offered with earlier phones. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.