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3/23/2007
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TV Projectors, Quick-Charging Batteries, Wi-Fi Phones Are Coming To Your Handheld

Predictions abound at VON IP communications conference.

Someday, cell phones will be broadband devices with built-in TV projectors and quick-charging batteries, and Wi-Fi handsets could be an alternative to cell phones. Those were some of the predictions made by speakers at the VON conference last week.


Wi-Fi phones could replace cell phones--someday, Skype's CEO Niklas Zennstrom says.

Wi-Fi phones could replace cell phones--someday, Skype's CEO Niklas Zennstrom says.
A future handset using ultrawideband links based on wireless USB will deliver input/output capability of 1 Gbps, said venture capitalist Vinod Khosla. Low-power chips of this type are in the works to link phones to cameras, MP3 players, and TVs, he added. Also in the works: low-power embedded projectors that could create a full-color, 12-inch display.

Batteries are key to making the handset more useful, Khosla said. Several companies are developing ways to give a handset 80% of a full charge in a minute or two, he said.

Another prediction: Processing will move to computers, and handhelds will handle just I/O and user interface jobs. You'll have a virtual view of your PC and phone on the Net, Khosla said. "Then people will carry one or two devices ... and wherever you go, your PC and phone are there."

Widespread use of Wi-Fi and dual-mode phones is still a ways off. Early devices are just appearing, but prices are high, said Skype CEO Niklas Zennstrom. Key to making Wi-Fi phones a reality is seamless roaming, said Jeff Pulver, organizer of the IP communications conference. "When you can get voice over Wi-Fi in and out of the house, that's when it gets interesting," he said. "Maybe it will take WiMax."

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