Access to the Internet is pretty much ubiquitous these days. You can go to any coffee shop, airport, bookstore, or school and it’s practically a guarantee that there will be WiFi there. So, my question is: Why don’t all new mobile devices have WiFi? More specifically, why don’t all new smartphones have it? Although it’s not as pervasive as network signals from mobile carriers, wireless internet access seems to available in places where the network just doesn’t suffice. The Boy Genius’ take on WiFi pretty much sums up my own thoughts on it. If you think you’re on the greatest network on earth and you don’t need WiFi, you’re pretty much a ‘tard. Why?

To start, conditions have to be optimal in order for you to get high speeds and great coverage for your device. As we all know, this happens maybe 20-30% of the time. Otherwise, coverage and speeds are usually mediocre, and sometimes worse depending on where you are. Secondly, and the reason I’m writing this particular entry, is because it typically allows you to access data while you are on a call. That’s right. I was on a conference call this morning and I attempted to access an email… fail. So, I thought I’d try the web on my phone… fail. For the record, I am using a Blackberry Bold which allows data and voice access at the same time either via the 3G network or WiFi. Why didn’t it work? I was in a woodsy area where I received only EDGE service (don’t ask why I was there and on a conference call). This made me think, “Other than this isolated case, I wouldn’t have had this problem. However, folks without 3G GSM or WiFi are pretty much fucked if they needed to access data while on a call.” Lastly, it’s rare that network data speeds will ever match WiFi speeds (there are exceptions, of course). So, say you are at a Starbucks waiting for a friend to arrive and you whip out your iPhone, Blackberry Bold, or HTC Fuze to kill time and surf the net… If your signal strength is low, very low, it may constantly switch between EDGE and 3G. Even if it isn’t switching, and you’re showing one or two bars on 3G, that is going to kill your battery! In my experience, having WiFi on will eat up less of that battery life than having a weak signal on 3G. WiFi wins.

Should you ever find yourself asking whether it’s worth it to have WiFi, um, remember what I said. Yes! It’s a deal-breaker, in my opinion. The next time you buy a smartphone, choose a WiFi-capable device. Without it, it’s really a not-so-smartphone, in my opinion.

Blackberry Storm sucks. Bye.

The following is something I wrote for Boy Genius Report:

Big Brother is watching you and every little thing you do under the eye of the British government. In a completely totalitarian move, anyone wanting to purchase a mobile phone will be required to register their identity in a national database. Right, we can totally see everyone being completely cool with this ridiculous maneuver. Anyone who wants to get a celly will have to show a passport or official piece of identification to add to the registry. While the idea is still in its early stages of inception, officials in the U.K. are taking it very seriously as part of an effort to combat terrorism and crime. Apparently, pay as you go phones are very popular with terrorists and criminals (and those who don’t want contracts!) because it keeps their secret activities… secret. A spokeswoman for the information commissioner said, “With regards to the database that would contain details of all mobile users, including pay-as-you-go, we would expect that this information would be included in the database proposed in the draft Communications Data Bill.”

There’s no doubt in any sane person’s mind that legislating this rule would be complete overkill and invasion of privacy. It’s hard to imagine anyone would want to offer details on their identity simply because they want to own a mobile phone. Just imagine if that info was accidentally leaked à la T-Mobile. The consequences could be disastrous! “Remember, remember the 5th of November…”

Via Timesonline