WiMax: Although we hoped it would, the WiMax hype factor never seemed to cool down. With the incredibly devastating hurricane season, launch of WiBro in Korea and the recent ratification of 802.16e, WiMax stayed in the headlines for what seemed like much of the year. As predicted, 2005 was not the breakthrough year for WiMax, even though there were a few commercial deployments worldwide. Next year will be the true litmus test for the technology as its fixed standard launches in full force and tries to live up to expectations.
Wireless VoIP: Last year, FierceWireless correctly predicted that wVoIP would penetrate the enterprise for use over corporate WLANs and public hotspots. Of course, the big VoIP news this year is eBay's astronomically expensive Skype acquisition. With the FCC chairman's recent nod toward taxing and voice service that uses phone numbers, you can bet VoIP providers will start pushing into the wireless space on a quest for more revenues to keep cost-competitive and make switching worth it. Wireless VoIP emerged as a forward-looking industry topic of 2005, and judging by muni-WiFi deployments and plans, wVoIP will certainly become a market reality in 2006. More on that in our next issue.
Bluetooth: As expected, Bluetooth made its way onto more devices than ever in 2005. Analysts say one-in-six phones sold in the third quarter had Bluetooth capability. The real question still remains: Why does this matter? Carriers still don't make much money off of Bluetooth-based applications. However, US consumers are increasingly willing to shell out the money for Bluetooth, especially because of its in-vehicle usage. Nokia, EMI Music and others recently launch trials of free music downloads using Bluetooth.
Ultrawideband: Last year, we noted that the UWB standard was still bottlenecked in the IEEE and no resolution to the standards fight was in sight. The end of 2005 carries the same grim message for UWB; this time next year we may not even be talking about it.