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Wi-Fi/Cellular Phones On The Rise: Alliance

Las Vegas – Seventy-four percent of U.S. adults want Wi-Fi in their next cellular handset, and 57 percent say WiFi is an “essential feature” in cellphones, the Wi-Fi Alliance said in reporting the results of an ABI Research survey.

In a related study, ABI determined that the penetration of Wi-Fi in smartphones will grow from 60 percent worldwide in 2008 to 90 percent in 2014. ABI also found that 82 percent of Wi-Fi enabled phones worldwide are smartphones as opposed to WiFi/cellphones that use Wi-Fi and unlicensed mobile access (UMA) technology to place Wi-Fi calls from home.

Demand for Wi-Fi in handsets is growing because of UMA, faster-than-3G dataspeeds, and the latest optional enhancements, said alliance executive director Edgar Figueroa.

The alliance’s optional powersave feature, for example, reduces Wi-Fi battery drain by 70 percent and became available in phones for the first time only a year ago, he said. In UMA phones, power save delivers Wi-Fi talk time that’s equivalent to cellular talk time.

Another optional alliance-certified feature is the voice personal program, which tests Wi-Fi voice quality while a home or small-office network is loaded.

Two other alliance programs under development will further boost Wi-Fi adoption in handsets, he promised. One is the voice enterprise program, which tests the quality of dozens of simultaneous Wi-Fi calls in a network. The spec will be completed by the first quarter of 2010. Next year, the alliance also hopes to complete a device-to-device transfer spec enabling handsets to transfer data to a PC, TV, or other device without a network connection.