The real impact of iPhone and Android

The real impact of iPhone and Android

Summary: While Internet routing and fiber trunks have always been scaled well ahead of demand, mobile networks will have to route a ton more data on-and-off the fiber for the new clients. Equipment will have to be bought without an assurance of a quick return.

SHARE:

Android demo from C|Net in Barcelona Feb. 2008The iPhone and the Google Android platform, which was finally shown-off (sort of) in Barcelona this week, aren't mobile telephones.

They are Internet clients.

Internet clients use exponentially more data bandwidth than ordinary digital phones, which use thin streams of compressed data. Maybe several exponentials.

Operators are thinking of expanding their networks into homes and offices to handle the extra load.

The Android clients shown in Barcelona aren't much. What they mainly prove is that the specification can be built and deployed quickly.

While the Apple iPhone roll-out has gone at a predictable pace, with one vendor delivering specified numbers to a handful of networks, the Android roll-out will be far more helter-skelter.

That's because the Android is designed to work anywhere, first on any GSM network and then, with a little tinkering, anywhere else.

This makes it hard for operators to predict where and how demand will come from.

While Internet routing and fiber trunks have always been scaled well ahead of demand, mobile networks will have to route a ton more data on-and-off the fiber for the new clients. Equipment will have to be bought without an assurance of a quick return.

Yet thanks to the iPhone network operators have no choice. In the U.S. Verizon and Sprint are seeing their best customers jump en masse to AT&T, because of the iPhone. They have to compete.

While the Google Android specification may (or may not) allow effective competition on the handset end, Verizon must guess that it will, anticipate that demand, and start investing now.

It's a gamble, in some ways bigger than the spectrum auction was.

Topics: Networking, Android, Browser, Google, iPhone, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

3 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Awfully quiet around here.

    Awfully quiet around here.
    zato_3@...
    • They might be sleeping

      I know I almost was by the time I'd read half of that article, what a massively boring waste of letters and punctuation. The article itself is largely pointless and offers no real information, obviously recognising this flaw the author attempts to gain hits by mentioning iPhone.
      Skullet
  • Exponential?

    "Internet clients use exponentially more data bandwidth than ordinary digital phones"

    exponential increase per <i>what</i>? Are you sure you don't mean order of magnitude?
    ejb78923