Tireless Effort for Wireless Insight

Ross Rubin welcomes you to the Ziff Davis Wireless Supersite-your no-strings home away from home.

If youre like most people, youre reading this on a personal computer. If youre a bit luckier, that PC allows you to roam about your space via a WiFi connection. Or perhaps youre not reading it on a PC at all, but on a Handspring Treo or Nokia 9290 that allows you to surf the Web from anywhere their cellular networks reach. Although you may be thousands of miles away from your address, youre home.

Thats because youve arrived at the Ziff Davis Wireless Supersite, where keeping you connected to the latest news, trends and issues will be our "always-on" mission. Whatever your platform and wherever you are, wireless networks are transforming the way we use technology. They promise to bring new flexibility to our applications and will bring documents; e-mail; and, increasingly, entertainment wherever we are.

That means well be looking at wireless from all the angles it affects you—the carriers; the networks; the applications; the platforms; and, of course, the devices. Whether its 3G or 802.11g, were going to be the focal point of your wireless world. Wireless technology is the bridge between digital functionality and location.

For just a glimpse at how this traditionally communications-oriented technology is transforming the traditional world of end-user technologies, look no further than the conquering cousins of the PC world—Microsoft and Intel.

Nearly all of Microsofts end-user technologies relate to wireless in some way. Pocket PCs are just overpriced MP3 players without either integrated WAN connections or at least a technology like Bluetooth. Tablet PCs would be nearly useless without widespread availability of WiFi. Media Center PCs reach their potential only on high-speed home networks. And now, Microsoft is exploring new kinds of wireless networks with its new SPOT initiative.

As for Intel, connectivity to wireless LANs has become so important that the chip giant has reengineered its flagship Pentium 4 as Centrino to power lighter mobile devices and integrate 802.11b.

But theres plenty of interference on the path to completely cutting the cord. The technology has to be sound and affordable. The applications have to support real business models for significant investments. And whether youre an enterprise IT manager deploying a sales-force automation solution or investing your personal funds to save more of your personal time, the ROI has to be justified.

On the Wireless Supersite, well show you when the airborne acrobatics really have strings attached. So, keep coming back, and fasten your seatbelts. Theyre going to be the only things holding you down.

Ross Rubin is a senior analyst at eMarketer. Hes been researching wireless communications since 1994 and has been covering technology since 1989.