Mobile users who upgrade their computing hardware in the coming months are in for a real treat in terms of connectivity, as more notebook and netbook vendors opt for offerings that include embedded wireless broadband connectivity mechanisms.
“This change in product strategy has been driven by the amazing improvements in bandwidth availability and cost reductions that the new undersea cables which are expected to land in South Africa over the coming months will bring," says Othelo Vieira, Acer notebook product manager at Tarsus Technologies.
More specifically, Vieira says, the Seacom cable, along with the upgrade of South Africa’s current SAT-3 cable and the landing of five other cables before the end of 2011 will, according to analysts, see South Africa’s available Internet bandwidth increase 100-fold.
“There’s quite simply no way that this cannot result in cheaper, more ubiquitous bandwidth for both consumers and end-users, which, as in other regions around the world, will undoubtedly mean that speedy Internet connectivity will become as important as purchasing the computer itself” he says.
Since mobile broadband connectivity methods such as cellular data through 3G or HSDPA or WiMAX can be embedded in notebook computers at very little additional cost, it’s clear that vendors will respond to the ubiquity of Internet connectivity in the market by making the hardware required to connect available across the majority of their products.
While he admits that right now the inclusion of a 3G or WiMAX module is seen as a differentiator, the change in the local Internet landscape will see these modules becoming a commonplace feature on all newer model notebooks and netbooks.
“Similarly, if the vast majority of vendors have this functionality embedded, the ones that don’t will be doing themselves a disservice. It’s the same as a vendor not including an embedded WiFi card in a modern notebook,” he adds.
“It’s a real value-add, since it’s a feature that everyone will find use for in the coming months, regardless of whether it’s used as a primary or secondary form of Internet connectivity.
“When these cables land, South African consumers in all walks of life will have access to Internet connectivity that rivals a number of first world destinations – we believe the notebook and netbook vendors should rise to the challenge and do their bit in the interest of creating a truly connected society."