The Wi-Fi Phones Are Coming
Here's a piece on a Wi-Fi "cell" phone, introduced at CES, that can split calls between cell and Wi-Fi networks. This comes on the heels of the new Skype-Netgear Wi-Fi phone .
The article talking about UTStarcom's new GF200 (discussed in the first link) points out that cellphone carriers will resist this and other Wi-Fi-enabled cellphones because of the negative revenue implications.
Howard Frisch, director of Handset Product Management at UTStarcom, said it's highly unlikely that existing cell companies will want anything to do with a phone that could slash their revenue.
Accordingly, Frisch said in the article that Europe will be the first market to see adoption of such phones.
Eventually most cellphones will be Wi-Fi enabled and this trend toward a phone that can work on any network (at home or out and about) will be the norm. The only question is when? We will see whether and how the incumbent U.S. wireless carriers can delay this inevitability—and they may be able to do so for some time.
But this potential disruption is what I'm talking about when I say the "new" biz models (e.g., wireless) are less stable than many traditional media models and may be undermined surprisingly fast—from a historical perspective.