4G Devices and 4G Services needed for 4G Networks
I reach out to developers and ISV's and device makers with a common plea these days: Make 4G devices! Make your 3G services into 4G services! I have a 4G network- let's use it right! You must think I'm crazy. Companies are spending billions on 4G networks, why am I concerned about services and devices for them? It's simple, you have to differentiate. It is pointless to take a 3G application and put it on a smartphone with Wimax in it. The application will perform the same as on a 3G network and that is not a selling point (and if multimedia is involved, it won't perform well). I look at the mobile IDE's today- Flash CS3, Android SDK- and see they let you do things like simulate a network and its latency. Only problem is they stop at 3G. Where's 4G? How much extra work must a developer do to modify a toolset for 4G development? The fact that these tools don't let you just plug in 4G as your network is a barrier to 4G application development. Another barrier is that the tools let you provide a fixed throughput only, which is completely unrealistic. Mobile network characteristics are always changing. How about a tool that provides variable bandwidth, even connection loss, so that better testing can be done? Here are some examples of problems I have seen in the past couple of weeks: mobile youtube- all the goodness of 3gp streaming video at 80 kbps. Awful quality. mobile slingbox player- client prevents entering a value above 600 kbps. Also, the audio settings cannot be changed at all. On today's 800 x 480 screens running Windows Mobile 6.1, you really want a higher data rate than 600 kbps, whether over wifi or wimax. Speaking of wifi, the CPU is used in some chipsets so that you can't play good video while downloading the video. (Newer chipsets have an embedded processor for doing the wifi MAC work.) Chipsets that support video decode only. Hardware encoding is required for cool things like high quality video chat on a mobile device. Video cameras that only record in 3GP format. Media players that can't play h.264 (licensing cost, issue, I guess) General embarrassing software quality problems: Various video apps not taking advantage of devices with a front and rear camera Video images shown upside down with no option to flip the video Apps that rely on GPS only for location (most people are indoors most of the time, where GPS is useless)- ever hear of Google Gears? A map application that lets you scroll up and down but not side to side. Who really wants to travel east or west, anyway? I could go on, but it is too painful.