Carriers banking on embedded devices for next growth spurt

With U.S. wireless penetration rates hitting upward of 80 percent, mobile operators are dedicating staff and resources to what many believe will be the next hot growth area in wireless: embedded devices. By embedding wireless connectivity into all types of devices--from netbooks to ereaders to GPS devices--the wireless industry could eventually hit penetration rates of 300 percent to 500 percent.

The pervasiveness of 3G networks coupled with the decline in the price of wireless modules are driving much of the growth in embedded devices. Consumer electronics manufacturers are beginning to see the value in 3G networks (wireless connectivity everywhere and anywhere). Likewise, wireless carriers have become much more open-minded about the types of devices they will allow on their networks, and are working diligently to come up with business models to make this type of connectivity affordable for the consumer.

In fact, when it comes to the future of embedded devices, most agree that the biggest hurdle is the business model. Carriers need to partner with back-office, billing and provisioning vendors to streamline device activations and develop flexible pricing models so consumers aren't paying hefty fees every time their device connects to the network.

Clearly, the embedded wireless space offers opportunities for consumer electronics manufacturers, wireless carriers and all the players between. In our first eBook, FierceWireless has taken an in-depth look at this exciting new area of the wireless industry. This collection of feature articles and interviews deep dives into the embedded device space to provide you with all the news and analysis you need to understand it. Please check out FierceWireless' "Beyond the Cell Phone: Creating the New Frontier in Wireless" eBook and let me know what you think of our latest endeavor. --Sue