North America is Toast (aka Build a Wireless Network, Stupid!)

I’ve been talking about how North America is going to be toast if they don’t hurry up and settle on a wireless standard. Europe is light years farther ahead, and it is becoming more and more obvious that both the post-PC era and networking in general are going to depend on ubiquitous wireless coverage.

Philip Greenspun’s latest posting covers it a bit, with some history about the advantages that the US has had in the past versus Europe, and how it’s Europe that’s ahead with wireless:<blockquote>After two days of touring Wales, a country that apparently has yet to discover the mixing faucet, it has become apparent that there is better mobile phone coverage in the remotest sheep pasture or coastal outcrop than in downtown Boston. How can such an otherwise backward place be so far ahead of the U.S. technologically?</blockquote>I don’t necessarily think that 802.11xxx will be the wireless network, but there needs to be one standard that you can access anywhere – I’ll take a pass on technology choices for now.

I still have to send Steve Forgeron a note explaining how he won our long-ago discussion about the evolution of PDAs vs. cell phones. At the time, I was a Palm champion, convinced that PDAs would morph into multi-function devices, adding phone connectivity, and that the lumbering behemoths at telcos wouldn’t advance phones nearly as fast. I admit it. I was wrong. My North America viewpoint blinded me to happenings in Europe. Palm is sliding away, although OS6 might be interesting (I said the same, hopeful thing about OS5 – I was wrong). Don’t worry – I think the PocketPC OS sucks, too.

Tablets is where interesting things are going to happen as well. Now that we are at a point where it is realistic to think that there can be a full-power computing device that is just…smaller, and more portable.