Wi-Fi Phones Bring Freedom, Phobia

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2003-04-24 Print this article Print

New cellphones incorporating Wi-Fi will finally let us take a single phone number everywhere we go. Can Implantable Phones be around the corner?

I really like the Nextel service. Its direct connect feature—basically a walkie-talkie on steroids—is just so darn useful. But coverage problems limit its effectiveness—dead cells inside buildings and outside metropolitan areas can make connecting hit-or-miss. But help is coming from a new direction. Wi-Fi, the panacea for just about everything, may well help solve cell-phone connection problems, and also usher in a new era of one-person one-phone. From my perspective, it cant happen soon enough. Lets take it one step at a time. First Wi-Fi phones. Why add the 802.11 networking capability into a cell phone? For Cisco, which announced last week that itll deliver a Wi-Fi phone in June, its all about Voice over IP in the enterprise. Your phone works when its connected to your Cisco-based Wi-Fi network, but turns into a doorstop when you walk out the door.
Im more excited about traditional cellular phones combined with Wi-Fi. Ericsson last week announced a dual-mode chipset that combines CDMA2000 with 802.11, a melding of technologies that lets you bypass the standard cell-phone network whenever youre within range of an open Wi-Fi hub. And Motorola says theyll deliver a Wi-Fi-based iDen phone—for the Nextel network—within a year or so.

With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including ExtremeTech.com, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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