WiFi-enabled devices could bring change to hotspot owners
Must public hotspot providers prepare for an onslaught of mobile WiFi-enabled devices? According to Motorola (See story No. 2), Apple's iPhone is forcing mobile operators to seriously consider selling devices with WiFi capability included. And last week, Apple announced the WiFi-enabled iPod Touch, which offers the same music selection and pricing as its desktop counterpart. Apple has teamed with Starbucks, where users will receive free access to the iTunes Store over the in-store WiFi.
This momentum could bring WiFi mainstream, which means hotspot providers may find themselves grappling with the prospect of heavy use and difficulty monetizing it. But just think of the new business models that can be created through enhanced hotspot partnerships with mobile operators around services and content. We very well could see a metamorphosis of the WiFi market. Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself.--Lynnette