4G Vision: Can wireless be embedded in every device?

Every vendor and carrier now has a vision for embedding wireless in all types of devices, from laptops to digital cameras to home appliances. With penetration rates nearing 90 percent, it's clear that the industry must continue to propel growth and this is one way to do that.

This morning I moderated a lively virtual panel session on this topic with some excellent speakers, including AT&T's new president of emerging devices, national distribution and resale Glenn Lurie. In this newly created position, Lurie will head up AT&T's initiative to bring wireless connectivity to new consumer electronics devices and applications--including personal computers, mobile Internet devices or mini computers, in-car entertainment and navigation systems, cameras and machine-to-machine communications solutions.

Lurie's role seems very similar to that of Verizon Wireless' executive Tony Lewis. Lewis is Verizon's vice president of open development and he is charged with developing Verizon's open device and application initiative. I interviewed Lewis at CTIA I.T. & Entertainment Conference last month in San Francisco and he talked about how the carrier is working closely with device makers and distribution partners to build momentum behind this "wireless in every device" vision.

With the appointments of Lurie and Lewis, it is apparent that the big wireless operators are committed to making this vision a reality. It's now a question of getting the business model figured out--i.e. how will carriers charge for wireless access? Will they subsidize the devices? And perhaps more importantly, getting the distribution system and the retail partners to make this vision a reality.

Please check out this panel and all the sessions during today's "Future of 4G" virtual event. All panel sessions will be archived for several months. Register here.

And don't forgot to check out our third installation of the "25 Most Powerful People in Wireless."  Today we continue the countdown with No. 11 through 15. Of course, I'd love to hear your feedback on the list. Weigh in with your own Top 25 picks in the comments section. Click here to see the newest members of the list. -Sue