Bryan Morgan is the founder of the Wireless Developer Network. He is currently an independent consultant and writer focusing on the wireless industry. Bryan is a regular contributor to InformIT on wireless application development topics.
In this series of articles for InformIT, I have focused nearly exclusively on software development tools and techniques for current mobile-computing platforms. In this article, I'd like to paint an accurate picture of wireless communications in the near future, as this will drastically affect the applications being delivered to these mobile devices. If you're a fan of science fiction—or even of the old Dick Tracy detective comics—you'll recall the omnipresent watch or handheld communicator capable of full-motion video and audio—not to mention the phaser stun option, which we won't discuss in this article! This sort of wireless connectivity has been a sort of Holy Grail for those in the telecommunications industry possibly since Alexander Graham Bell sent the first voice message nearly 125 years ago.
If you've ever taken part in a satellite videoconference, you know that the technology to support high-bandwidth wireless communications has been around for some time. The next huge leap for the industry is ubiquitous, cost-effective availability of high-bandwidth communications, and rest assured that industry titans such as Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Lucent are moving full speed ahead to ensure that these services will be delivered. Because the importance of global standards has moved to the forefront as wireless communications becomes virtually omnipresent throughout society, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has called for proposals to develop a so-called "3G" communications standard as the industry moves forward. In this article, I'll discuss the current state of wireless communications and the plans going forward, along with future capabilities coming soon to a handset near you!